A human tragedy

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 22, 2014
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Israeli policemen patrol a synagogue in the ultra-Orthodox Har Nof neighbourhood in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. Two Palestinians armed with a gun and axes attacked the synagogue early in the morning, killing four Israelis. [Xinhua photo]

Two Palestinians armed with a gun and axes attacked a Jerusalem synagogue on Nov. 18, killing four Israelis. This terrorist act has been strongly condemned by world opinion. But this desperate act of violence – both attackers were shot dead by Israeli police – should be viewed against its broad historical background. It is part of an ongoing human tragedy in which reprisal begets reprisal.

The Jewish people, who have given the world great thinkers, financiers, scientists and artists, were the victims of Nazi ethnic cleansing, an event known as the Holocaust. It is ironic that the erstwhile victims have become perpetrators themselves, practicing no less cruel ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians.

Instead of the gas chamber, they use all sorts of tactics to drive the Palestinians from their homeland, killing many along the way.

During the 1947-48 civil war in British Mandate Palestine, Jewish militias drove 720,000 of the area's 1.2 million Palestinians from their homes. Jewish terrorist groups such as the Stern Gang mowed down Palestinians with machine guns to scare the survivors into fleeing from their villages. Many of these people are still refugees living in utter misery in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 and has never stopped stealing Palestinian land since then, building endless Jewish settlements and flooding Israeli squatters into the territory in flagrant violation of UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention of 1949. Israel has also forced many Palestinians out of East Jerusalem. In all, the Israeli government has allowed 600,000 Jewish squatters to occupy the Palestinian West Bank and Palestinian Jerusalem among nearly 3 million Palestinians, treating the latter as second class citizens in a crude apartheid system.

Israelis discriminate against, persecute and murder Palestinians. They use all sorts of tactics, including digging their wells deeper into aquifers, causing wells in Palestinian villages to go dry.

To fight their tormentors, the Palestinians staged two Intifadas that resulted in even more Palestinian deaths. According to the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, during the two Intifadas, Israeli security forces killed a total of 6,371 Palestinians, 1,317 of whom were minors. At least 2,996 of those killed did not take active part in the uprisings. An additional 248 of those killed were Palestinian police killed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, and 240 Palestinian fatalities were the targets of assassinations.

Now NBC News is asking: "Palestinian Violence Targets Israelis: Has Third Intifada Begun?"

Not likely.

The two sides have alternated between talking and fighting for nearly 70 years, and the proposed two-state solution is nowhere in sight. Instead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyanu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, both ultra-rightist (some have even called them fascists), are reported to have plans to "transfer" Palestinian Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank to another country, possibly Jordan, a sinister plan of total ethnic cleansing.

The world's people are increasingly seeing through Israel's duplicity. The New York Times' Thomas Friedman wrote about the Third Intifada not as another Palestinian uprising, but as boycott and campaign to delegitimize Israel led by the European Union and other opponents of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. That is hurting the Israeli pocketbooks. Britain, Sweden and most recently Spain have held parliamentary votes to recognize the state of Palestine.

But when the human tragedy will end is still anybody's guess.

The writer is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit: http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/zhaojinglun.htm

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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