Does Israel Seek a “Final Solution for Palestinians?”

Diaspora Jews choose to look the other way as the carnage increases

There is what passes for a sick joke among those who watch the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians with increasing shock over what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his thugs have been allowed to get away with. It goes something like this: Israel has succeeded in killing or driving out the remaining three million or so Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza, describing them as “terrorists.” President Joe Biden, his cabinet and virtually all of Congress respond afterwards by saying how the move was unfortunate but “Israel has a right to defend itself.”

Such is the power of Israel as manifested through its Lobby in the US, and the saddest part of the joke is that it reflects quite likely exactly what would happen. The Palestinians have no constituency in the United States, where Israel and its friends rule the roost. But one of the real ironies of watching a genocide being carried out now in the twenty-first century is that the killers come from a group that constantly flaunts its claimed status as history’s perpetual victims. This duality is a convenience, to be sure, providing as it does immunity from its own crimes as it also escalates the criminal policies that might lead to the genocide of a whole category of potential “enemies.”

Israel’s new government, again headed by the monstrous Benjamin Netanyahu, has shifted hard to the right, incorporating as it does the extremist settlers’ movement as well as parties that have spoken casually of forcing the Palestinians out and even of extermination if it comes to that. Half of Israelis are comfortable with the Arabs having minimal civil rights even if they are Israeli citizens and many accept the desirability of forced expatriation of the Palestinians to neighboring states like Jordan or Lebanon. Arab residents of Israel have only limited legal rights and, contrary to the US domestic Israel Lobby’s constant assertion that the Zionist entity is a “democracy,” Israel in reality became an apartheid state by law when it in 2018 declared itself to be legally the nation state of the Jews with “exclusive right of self-determination.”

More recently Netanyahu has made clear exactly what his government stands for. In late December, he stated that “the Jewish people have an exclusive and inalienable right to all parts of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop the settlement of all parts of the Land of Israel.” He was explicit that “all parts” was intended to include the West Bank and even Gaza, which have long been the presumed to be the basis of a future Palestinian state. With Washington’s support, they presumably will become part of Eretz Israel, which will stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

To be sure, Israel and its powerful US lobby know very well that the constant claim of victimhood combined with labeling its perceived enemies as antisemites and holocaust deniers to discredit them is little more than a tool employed in part to excuse war crimes and human rights violations committed by the Israelis. In 2002 a former Israeli government minister Shulamit Aloni revealed in an interview how labeling a critic as an antisemite to discredit what is being is little more than “a trick.” She said “Well, it’s a trick, we always use it. When from Europe somebody is criticizing Israel, then we bring up the Holocaust. When in this country [the US] people are criticizing Israel, then they are antisemitic.” She added that there was an “Israel, my country right or wrong” attitude and “they’re not ready to hear criticism”. Antisemitism, the holocaust and “the suffering of the Jewish people” are used to “justify everything we do to the Palestinians.”

Indeed, there is every indication that Prime Minister Netanyahu will be taking a much harder line not only with the Palestinians, but as well with its foreign “enemies” the Syrians, Iranians and Lebanese. And there is every sign that he has drawn the United States into his web. President Joe Biden, a self-declared Catholic “Zionist”, is politically too weak to take on the Israel Lobby even if he wanted to, and he has in any event surrounded himself with Zionist Jews as a foreign policy and national security team that would consider any weakening of ties with Israel to be unimaginable. Quite the contrary. Jewish power in the US demands unconditional military, financial and diplomatic support for Israel, even as its government moves to the right and becomes more dangerous regionally, threatening to involve the United States in new wars. Seemingly blind to what is developing, the US last month proceeded with the largest wargames ever involving the Jewish state. The games simulated an attack on Iran and could be a model for a series of pointless conflicts initiated by the more hawkish Israeli government.

And there is almost certainly much more to come, including a bill in the Knesset that will make it nearly impossible for Arab citizens to organize political parties. The new government in Israel has also placed police under the control of ultra-nationalist Jewish Power party head Itamar Ben-Gvir as National Security Minister. He is exploiting his position to already call for a war to destroy Hamas in Gaza. Meanwhile, the shoot to kill policy vis-à-vis Palestinians has increased the number of deaths already in 2023, totaling twelve on January 25th and 26th alone when a refugee camp at Jenin on the West Bank was raided by the army and two teenagers elsewhere were shot dead. Another shooting a week later took 5 Palestinian lives. Many more Palestinians were wounded in all the army attacks and the Israelis, as is their practice, routinely deny them any access to medical help. The army’s Chief of Staff has declared that its policy on using firearms will not be changed in spite of the large number of civilian deaths. Israeli soldiers and policemen who kill Palestinians, who are routinely described as “terrorists,” are almost never investigated or prosecuted and have been, in some cases, praised in the media and promoted.

And Ben-Gvir is not the only fanatic who has surfaced as a worrisome character in the new government. Another is Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism party and now finance minister, who has called for Israel’s annexation of the entire West Bank and the imposition of citizenship requirements that would make Jewishness a prerequisite for inclusion.

Smotrich’s party aspires to make Israel a theocracy governed by the racist Talmud, and both he and Ben-Gvir have support the expulsion of Arabs who fail to agree that “the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.” Smotrich has stated that his immediate plans include authorizing dozens of new and completely illegal West Bank outposts to include continuing the demolition of what he claims are unauthorized Palestinian homes there. Smotrich is also enthusiastically racist when it comes to the Palestinians, asserting that new Jewish mothers in hospitals should be separated from new Palestinian mothers. “[My wife] would not want to sleep next to someone who just gave birth to a baby who might want to murder her baby in twenty years.”

Zvika Fogel, another prominent right wing Israeli member of parliament, has called for genocide in his promotion of a “final war” against the Palestinians to “subdue them once and for all,” saying in an interview that Israel’s policy of going to war with Palestinians “every two or three years” was no longer good enough and that there should be one last war to “subdue them once and for all. It would be worth it because this will be the final war…”

Home demolitions, property seizures, checkpoints and other round the clock harassment of Palestinians also are increasing in frequency as the Israelis accelerate their expansion into areas that are nominally Palestinian. Palestinians who marry foreigners are not allowed to enter the country with their spouses while the Palestinian flag has now been declared illegal. The possibility that the Arabs will stage a general uprising increases daily, leading to more demands from some Israelis that remaining Palestinian centers of resistance be utterly destroyed.

To be sure, many young Jewish Israelis have recently been demonstrating against their own government’s shift rightwards. And in the United States many liberal Jews are concerned at developments, though they are critical of what is happening for all the wrong reasons. An increasing number of American Jews believe that Israel is indeed an apartheid state and that its treatment of the Palestinians is inhumane to say the least. But they, at the same time, oppose doing anything to punish the Israeli government to make it draw back from its most brutal and dangerous policies. They argue that the Netanyahu government is risking a confrontation with the US government, and the Jewish community will splinter over Israeli human rights abuses, weakening political support in Washington for a strong and enduring relationship with the Jewish state. In a sense the power of the Jewish diaspora both in the US and elsewhere thereby becomes the enabler of Israeli bad behavior even as it disapproves of what is taking place.

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