Featured image: May 12 vigil in South Africa supporting the Great March of Return in Gaza. (Source: BDS South Africa)
The settler state of Israel turns 70 on May 14. In imperialist capitals, especially Israel and the U.S., this state built on the bones of the Palestinian people will be praised and celebrated. The U.S. will open its embassy in Jerusalem the same day.
It is a state built on lies.
The people of the world have a different assessment of Israel at 70. It is a pariah state and international outlaw; a dog of war armed and unleashed by the Pentagon; a symbol of war, of racism and apartheid, and of reaction. It is a danger to all people of the region, including Israelis.
The continued struggle of the Palestinian people is most responsible for shattering the colonizer’s illusions.
A dog of war unleashed by the U.S.
More than anything, Israel is an agent of war, since its formation.
Just a day after the Trump administration exited the Nuclear Accord with Iran, in a coordinated move, Israel violated the sovereign borders of Syria and bombed what it called “Iranian positions” there. The provocative nature of these attacks, and bombings days later, were to draw Syria and its allies into an escalating conflict. Israel’s internal name for its strikes—“Chess.”
Israel has attacked all bordering countries, some, like Lebanon, repeatedly and for decades. It occupied or annexed all of historic Palestine and territory from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan. This not because it had to do so to survive. It is because imperialism backed the formation of Israel on stolen Palestinian land, not as a homeland for Jewish people but as an agent of war against Arab independence. The Holocaust survivors who populated it were meant to fight and die for imperialism. To this end, the U.S. has given this country of 8.5 million people $254 billions (2016 dollars) since its formation. Most of this is in sophisticated offensive weapons and spy equipment. Israel has been constantly at war with its neighbors for the benefit of U.S. imperialism.
War ‘games’ with US prepare for more aggression
More aggression appears to be in the works. In mid-March, the U.S. and Israel participated in joint training war games called “Juniper Cobra.” Thousands of U.S. and Israeli soldiers prepared for the simultaneous launch of thousands of rockets against Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and even Gaza. U.S. Army’s European Command said that if there is a need for them U.S. soldiers would arrive in Israel within two or three days.”
In September, Israel simulated an invasion of Lebanon targeting Hezbollah. This was Israel’s largest military drill in 20 years, involving all branches of the Israeli military.
The secret war on Syria
For six years, Israel has waged a secret war on Syria. In August, Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. General Amir Eshel said Israel had launched nearly 100 strikes in Syria since 2012. Many of these gave air cover for Al Nusra, an al Qaeda affiliate fighting to dismember Syria. Israel also gives them medical support. The Israeli military acknowledges giving medical treatment to 1,000 al Nusra fighters since 2011.
An apartheid state
Israel has issued murderous assaults twice on Gaza and blockaded it for 11 years. It it steadily annexing the West Bank, and regularly arrests and jails activists for indeterminate periods. Israel has declared Israel itself to be an exclusively Jewish state, when 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian. It prevents Palestinian refugees from returning to their lands and homes simply because they are not Jewish. Members of the African National Congress have described what they saw in occupied Palestine as worse than South African apartheid.
Racism is not only directed against Palestinians. The Israeli government is taking steps to expel to Africa, tens of thousands of migrants, most of them from Eritrea and Sudan. Known as Israel’s “Dreamers,” many are children who have known no other home and grew up speaking Hebrew.
No democracy, no Jewish ‘homeland’
Israel claims to be a democracy and a Jewish homeland. This “democracy” published in January a list of 20 human rights organizations whose members would be banned from the country. This included Jewish groups like Jewish Voice for Peace that support some form of Palestinian rights.
A state that claims to be a refuge from anti-Semitism has twisted the definition of the term to include those who oppose the policies of the Netanyahu regime, many of them war crimes. It has launched an international campaign to get other governments to accept this patently false definition and make it legally binding. This is aimed at the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel, which calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine, equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homes.
In the U.S., both Democratic and Republican legislatures have happily complied. Such a bill is currently pending before the U.S. Congress, and 23 states have pass laws outlawing BDS as “anti-Semitic.”
There are other indications of the cynicism and opportunism of the Israeli government. Of all the segments within the U.S. elite, the Netanyahu regime is most closely aligned with the religious ultra-right and the neo-cons, known for their virulent racism and anti-Semitism,
Class character of Israeli state exposed
It is also aligned with the most reactionary, repressive and anti-democratic forces in the Arab world—the Saudi Arabian regime and the Gulf states.
Steadfastness and struggle become objective factors
After the expulsion of 800,000 Palestinians in 1948, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, said,
“The old will die and the young will forget.”
This was an illusion.
Seventy years after the indigenous population was driven from Palestinian and Israel proclaimed in its place, the Palestinian struggle for human and national rights has been passed down for three generations. It is viable, vibrant and growing.
The justice of the Palestinian cause is clearer than ever on the international arena. The steadfastness of the Palestinian people, seen now in the “Great March of Return” on the Gaza border, inspires the whole world.
The Syrian people, too, after seven years of war, remain determined to defend their country and way of life. After the U.S. bombed Syria on April 13, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in defiance.
The U.S. and Israel may be planning more attacks, but that does not mean they will have the final say. The determination and resilience of the oppressed make their struggle an objective force. And it will not be defeated by missiles, snipers or bombs.
This article was originally published on Liberation News.