Does Palestine have the right to exist?


Published: 8/21/2019 9:15:10 AM

Does Israel have the right to exist? That is the wrong question. The right question is: Does Palestine have the right to exist? I have traveled to Israel and Palestine for the last 17 years, and here is my answer.

Israel does exist, albeit on stolen ground. Palestine existed, but it was chosen by Zionist Jews to be a Jewish homeland and has since become a state. Zionism was and is a project of colonization requiring the expulsion of the native population. (Colonizing the Americas also required genocide of the native population). For Zionists, Palestine did not have a right to exist. Thus the process of driving Palestinians from their homes and villages in the war of 1948 in order to make way for the new state of Israel.

Expulsion is an ugly process. It includes killing civilians in order to strike terror and cause flight. Palestinians fleeing war were never allowed to return to their homes, even though that was international law at the time. Over 500 of their villages were razed to the ground to eliminate the possibility of return and to erase evidence of their existence. Thus Zionists could proclaim that Palestine was “a land without a people for a people without a land.” Two thirds of the indigenous population were driven out before the U.N. brokered a ceasefire.

While the outcome gave the new state of Israel 78 percent of historic Palestine, many Zionist leaders since then have expressed regret that they did not push every last Palestinian out of the area between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, so they would not have the demographic problem of creating a Jewish state that contains Arabs. Instead, Israel must contend with 20 percent of its citizens being Palestinian Arabs, and around 5 million more Palestinians next door in Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem. What to do with them? Make their lives as miserable as possible without drawing international condemnation.

In the case of Gaza, fence them in, take away their water, and bomb them every few years. In the West Bank those who can’t afford to leave must suffer Israeli military control over their daily lives via checkpoints, segregated roads, permits denied for building and required for getting from one place to another, land expropriation to allow Jews-only “settlements,” which are cities and towns built on Palestinian land. Inside Israel there are over 65 restrictive laws that apply only to Palestinian citizens.

Now there is consideration being given to another solution to the problem of the existence of Palestinians in the land that the Zionists want for a Jewish state: annexation. Netanyahu is campaigning to be reelected on a platform of annexing most if not all of the West Bank. This is where the settlements are, already illegal under international law, but thriving nonetheless. If Israel annexes most of the West Bank, it will not be to protect the rural Palestinians living there. The on-going expropriation of their lands will continue, forcing most of them to leave. Where to? Yet to be known, though Kushner’s plan (Trump’s “deal of the century) seems to indicate that Jordan should absorb them.

Another question we need to ask is, who are the terrorists? The man who picks up a gun or bomb or throws stones to resist the loss of his home, his farm, his freedom? Or the state that puts its soldiers and snipers in prison-like watchtowers in a segregation wall and along Palestinian roads, and arrests children from their beds in the middle of the night? (International law permits armed resistance to invading armies, but does not allow the abuse of children). This is not a “conflict” between two warring parties; it is the brutal oppression of Palestinians by Zionists, backed and funded by the U.S.. Zionists created Israel and Zionists govern Israel, much as Trump and company govern the U.S.

My final question is, how can we support the Palestinians in their struggle for freedom while they continue to lose ground, in every sense of the word? Until now the only effective nonviolent way has been the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). But there is a new initiative from anti-Zionist Israelis and Palestinians working together to create one democratic state (ODS) with equal rights for Jews and Palestinians from the river to the sea. Stay tuned, because this is a vision that can work, unlike Trump’s “deal of the century” to which Palestinians will never submit.

Sherrill Hogen, a Charlemont resident, is an activist for non-violent resistance to injustice everywhere. Her blogsite is

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