For the Palestinian people, 2019 has begun strictly as the Zionist enterprise intends – with no let up to its grim, discriminatory violations of international humanitarian law and implacably unjust rule.
January saw 193 Israeli Gaza ceasefire violations. The Zionist regime carried out 29 attacks, including those against Palestinian fishing boats (including a hijacking) and agriculture, before there was any sign of Palestinian retaliatory resistance with a number of missiles fired towards the Green Line early on 6 January. On 12 January, continuing Israeli ceasefire violations provoked just one more firing of Palestinian missiles. During the rest of the month, the Palestinian Resistance carried out two attacks on military targets, opening fire on two Israeli Army vehicles. The month ended with 193 Israeli ceasefire violations, with only four Palestinian ceasefire violations carried out in response.
Israeli attacks on people, including protesters, in Gaza during the month killed four people and wounded 129. One 14-year-old boy died from wounds sustained two days earlier and the total number of deaths in Gaza for the month was actually five, with another person dying from wounds received last year. The Israeli Army made five incursions into Gaza during the first month of 2019 and the mighty Israel also hit defenceless Gaza with ten air strikes. On 28 January, Israeli forces, positioned behind the Green Line, opened fire on an area in Beit Hanun, wounding a schoolteacher, Ramiz Mohammad Jum’a Al-Za’anin, in a classroom at a local school. In addition to all the above, there were over 700 Palestinian tear gas casualties.
Under direct Israeli military rule, whether officially or not, the remainder of Palestine faced increasing violence and oppressive population control during the first month of this year. Taking a look at the In Occupied Palestine daily newsletters in January, here are just a few of the many deliberately cruel acts of self-serving vengeance inflicted by the Zionist regime:
There were 566 Israeli Army raids on West Bank towns and villages, well over 100 of them included home invasions – many at dead of night. The Zionist military Occupation frequently destroys Palestinian homes; this month, either ordering or actually carrying out the destruction of seven homes, including an apartment building. Two villagers had their mobile homes seized and taken away by Israeli soldiers. Four Palestinian families found their homes occupied by the Israeli Army and sniper posts set up on the roofs. At least five people were wounded in Israeli Army home invasions.
Apart from destroying a West Bank village family home, Israeli Army exercises forced four families out of their homes and Israeli soldiers terrorised a 14-year-old boy. The Army also prepared Palestinian village land for Occupation settlement expansion, while Israeli settlers beat up and hospitalised a Palestinian bus driver. As the month progressed, Israeli troops assaulted and terrorised some village schoolchildren and critically wounded one during a raid.
Occupation settler racist abuse and agricultural sabotage included the severing of branches from Palestinian olive trees, invasion of farmland and uprooting of grapevines and fruit trees. The Israeli Army also uprooted and seized Palestinian olive trees, while Occupation settlers used attack-dogs to drive Palestinian farmers off their land. Settlers also beat up and hospitalised two Palestinian shepherds, and a Palestinian man was hospitalised in a savage settler dog attack. On one day, Israeli settlers stole 27 sheep from a West Bank villager. On 10 January, the Israeli Army fired an anti-tank grenade at a Palestinian villager’s home and opened a racially-segregated road in Jerusalem.
On 30 January, Israeli forces, manning the al-Za’im military checkpoint, opened fire on and killed a 16-year-old schoolgirl: Samah Zuheir Ahmad Mubarak. Mubarak’s family, based in the Gaza Strip, said that Israeli forces killed their daughter in “cold blood”. In a video released by Israeli police, Samah is seen walking towards the checkpoint. In another clip, she is seen standing near a vehicle and a group of Israeli forces. After what appears to be a brief exchange, the police officer backs away, the young girl is shot by Israeli forces at close range and falls to the ground. Another clip shows Israeli forces searching through her belongings.
Israel’s behaviour is driven by an anachronistic, irrational and racist founding ideology. While Israel claims to represent all Jews, more and more Jewish people are rejecting Zionism because Israel exploits the memory of the Holocaust and its victims in order to justify its inhumanities and defend itself from criticism. Zionism does not belong in the twenty-first century and its demise is certain. In a historic decision, taken after many “years of study and discussion”, the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has announced that it rejects Zionism. In the movement’s document, Our Approach to Zionism, JVP states: “We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter” to “our vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people.” JVP tells us that it began “a nationwide discussion that recently culminated in a statement rejecting the ideology that has produced a nation-state that not only privileges Jews over all other residents, but systematically discriminates against and oppresses Palestinians, both inside the Green Line and in the Occupied Territories”:
“Palestinian dispossession and occupation are by design. Zionism has meant profound trauma for generations, systematically separating Palestinians from their homes, land, and each other. Zionism, in practice, has resulted in massacres of Palestinian people, ancient villages and olive groves destroyed, families who live just a mile away from each other separated by checkpoints and walls, and children holding onto the keys of the homes from which their grandparents were forcibly exiled.”
Time is a great healer and truth will out. Jewish Voice for Peace says that it has learned from “the anti-Zionist Jews who came before us, and know that as long as Zionism has existed, so has Jewish dissent to it. Especially as we face the violent anti-Semitism fuelled by white nationalism in the United States today, we choose solidarity. We choose collective liberation. We choose a future where everyone, including Palestinians and Jewish Israelis, can live their lives freely in vibrant, safe, equitable communities, with basic human needs fulfilled. Join us.”
The growing realisation that Zionism contradicts the enlightenment that inspires the principles supporting human rights provisions in international law, spells the approaching end of Zionist hegemony. A JVP civil rights lawyer, Robert Herbst, writes: “This rejection of Jewish ethno-nationalism comes at an opportune time, when nationalisms of all stripes are making it more difficult for us to come together as a global community to address existential threats like climate change and control of weapons of mass destruction.”
Opposition to Zionism should be seen for what it is, at the core of humanity’s struggle to reclaim all of its rights. So long as Israel can continue to defy international law with impunity, the US oligarchs and their allies will remain confident that they will forever be free to continue overriding the wishes of the majority of world opinion. They must be taught a lesson – urgently – because our lives and our children’s futures are at stake. Unite!