Tony Greenstein | 10 August 2022 | Post Views:

The real reason for the attack on Gaza lies not in immediate events but in the logic of Zionism – ethnic cleansing

Last Monday 1st August Israeli soldiers arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent figure in Islamic Jihad in Jenin refugee camp. Failing to provoke a response Israel decided anyway to restrict traffic around Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza-Israel boundary, an area known as the “Gaza envelope” in order to create the appearance of an imminent threat.

Bassam al-Saadi

One cannot however look to immediate events and who did what as the explanation for Israel’s latest murderous attack on Gaza and the Palestinians of the West Bank.

Since 2007 Gaza has been living under a sea, air and land blockade as punishment for having voted for Hamas in the last free Palestinian elections and in response to the removal of a corrupt Fatah administration which had been planning a coup in tandem with Israel.

Since then Israel has repeatedly attacked Gaza.  In 2008/9 in Operation Cast Lead Israel killed nearly 1,400 Palestinians. In 2012 Operation Pillar of Defence killed 174 Palestinians with hundreds wounded.

In 2014 in its most murderous attack to date Operation Protective Edge Israel killed 2,310 Palestinians and wounded nearly 11,000 including 3,374 children, over 1,000 of whom were left permanently disabled.  550 children were killed compared to 67 Israeli soldiers and  6 civilians (including one child).

Israel’s strategy for Gaza has always been very simple.  To make life as difficult as possible for those living there as a prelude to their forcible displacement.  As Efaim Inbar and Eitan Shamir wrote in a 2014 article for the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

“Against an implacable, well-entrenched, nonstate enemy like the Hamas, Israel simply needs to ‘mow the grass’ once in a while to degrade enemy capabilities. A war of attrition against Hamas is probably Israel’s fate for the long term.”

In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza, not in order to facilitate peace with the Palestinians but in order to prevent peace. As Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser Dov Weissglass explained:

“The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.

This has been the Israeli strategy ever since which is why those who call for the two state solution do it knowing that Israel will never agree to a Palestinian state. The two state solution is a smokescreen for continued Israeli occupation and it is an apartheid solution.

As Mouin Rabbani explained, Israel’s siege has nothing to do with security but in keeping Palestinians on the verge of starvation:

‘The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.’

He was not speaking metaphorically: it later emerged that Israel’s Defence Ministry had conducted detailed research on how to translate this into reality, and arrived at a figure of 2,279 calories per person per day – some 8 per cent less than a previous calculation because the research team had originally neglected to account for ‘culture and experience’ an exercise in colonial racism Israeli style.

Israel thus calculated the bare minimum number of calories needed for the average inhabitant to survive. This was not an original idea. The credit for that lies with Hans Frank, the Nazi governor of Poland who was hanged at Nuremberg.

5 year old Alaa Abdullah-Riyad Qaddoum was the first child to die as part of Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’

What are Israel’s real reasons for the attacks on Gaza and Palestinians in the West Bank?

We can of course list the chronology leading up to Israel’s latest bombardment of Gaza beginning with the arrest of Bassam al-Saadi followed by a wave of airstrikes killing Tayseer Jabari, the military commander of Islamic Jihad along with seven other people, including a 5 year old girl, Alaa Abdullah-Riyad Qaddoum.

Naturally the the US Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, stated that “the United States firmly believes that Israel has a right to protect itself.” It would be remarkable indeed if the Ambassador had spoken about the right of Palestinians to defend themselves. Suffice to say that there is nothing that Israel does which will merit US condemnation.

We only have to look at Israel’s excuse for bombing residential areas. That Hamas use civilians as human shields. However when Amnesty International recently condemned Ukraine’s army for doing exactly in a Report Ukrainian fighting tactics endanger civilians the right-wing media went ballistic. In the words of the Telegraph’s Stephen Pollard (ex-Jewish Chronicle Editor) ‘Amnesty is now utterly morally bankrupt’. The hypocrisy of these people beggars belief.

It would be wrong to ignore the Zionist dimension of Israel’s attack. Middle East International ran a piece stating that ‘The logic behind Israel’s Gaza attack, if any, is anyone’s guess’ suggesting a variety of reasons such as Israel’s forthcoming election or Iran. MEI said that ‘The unprovoked bombing campaign makes little to no sense’. This simply misses the point.

It does however make sense if you are a Zionist. There is indeed a logic but it will not be found in Israel’s elections or a geopolitical stand-off with Iran. Israel’s goal in the Occupied Territories is and always has been maximum land with the fewest possible Arabs.

Josef Weitz

The person who articulated this best was Josef Weitz, the Director of the Jewish National Fund’s Land Settlement Division. Weitz was responsible for the nuts and bolts of Zionist colonisation and he was obsessive about the necessity for the transfer of the Palestinians.

In 1937 he formed the first Transfer Committee, following the Peel Commission’s recommendation to Partition Palestine and exchange its populations. In all he formed 3 Transfer Committees, the last in 1948. Weitz wrote in his diary on December 20, 1940:

it must be clear that there is no room in the country for both [Arab and Jewish] peoples . . . If the [Palestinian] Arabs leave it, the country will become wide and spacious for us . . . The only solution [after the end of WW II] is a Land of Israel, at least a western land of Israel [i.e. Palestine since Transjordan is the eastern portion], without [Palestinian] Arabs. There is no room here for compromises . . . There is no way but to transfer the [Palestinian] Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Palestinian Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [Bedouin] tribe. The transfer must be directed at Iraq, Syria, and even Transjordan [eastern portion of Eretz Yisrael]. For this goal funds will be found . . . And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution. (Benny Morris, p. 27 & Expulsion Of The Palestinians, 131-132)

Weitz was frustrated in his objectives in 1948, because Israel did not conquer all of Palestine. Transjordan occupied the West Bank. So although Israel expelled 85% of Palestinians from the areas it controlled it was not until 1967 that Israel completed the conquest of the whole of Palestine.

Yet even in 1967 Weitz was not satisfied. Although all of Palestine had been captured and although around 300,000 Palestinians had been driven over the Jordan, the majority remained where they were. He expressed his feelings in Davar, the Labour Zionist paper that:

When the UN resolved to partition Palestine into two states, the [1948] War of Independence broke out, to our great good fortune [sic!], and in it there came to pass a double miracle: a territorial victory and the flight of the Arabs. In the [1967] Six Days’ War there came to pass one great miracle, a tremendous territorial victory, but the majority of the inhabitants of the liberated territories remained ‘attached’ to their places, which is liable to destroy the foundation of our State. The demographic problem is the most acute, especially when to its numerical weight is added the weight of the refugees.

Yosef Weitz, ‘Solution to the refugee problem: The State of Israel with a small Arab minority’, Davar, 29.9. 67. [Moshe Machover, Reply to Sol Stern, 1.1.73. Matzpen

The ‘problem’ that Israel faced was the fact that although they had achieved one ‘miracle’, the capture of the West Bank, god had not seen fit to grant them a second miracle like in 1948. The Palestinians had stubbornly remained on the land.

It is this ‘problem’ which has bedevilled the Zionists ever since and it explains everything in both the West Bank and Gaza. Circumstances are not right to enable them simply to deport 5 million Palestinians. Their only option is to make life so uncomfortable that the Palestinians will want to leave. And for some Palestinians, in particular Christian Palestinians, this has had some success.

It is this, not one or other incident or shooting, which explains the recurrent attacks on Gaza and the military repression coupled with violent settler/army attacks in the West Bank.

This is why those who posit ‘solutions’ such as two states entirely miss the point. The Israeli state is a settler colonial state whose founding goal of a Jewish state means inevitably that the number of Palestinians must be reduced to the absolute minimum. 

Weitz put the figure at 15% at the most and in Israel already the number of Israeli Palestinians is over 20%.  Coupled with the Palestinian majority in the West Bank that is the ‘existential question’ that Zionism has had to face and that explains everything that follows.

In Israel itself Judaisation and the Prawer Plan in the Naqab/Negev, ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the Koenig Report, the Judaisation of the Galilee, coupled with planning processes that ensures Arab villages and towns within Israel are surrounded by Jewish towns and communities are one solution. But even they don’t reduce Arab numbers. 

The real problem is Zionism itself and its goal of an ethnically pure Jewish state. To that there is only one solution. The dismantlement of the Zionist state itself.

Merav Michaeli of the Israeli Labor Party has given full support to the attack on Gaza

And just in case you thought that the Israeli Labor Party might live up to its name you might be reassured that its leader Merav Michaeli gave full backing for the attack on Gaza tweeting that “The residents of Israel deserve to live in security. No sovereign state would accept a siege on its residents by a terror organization’ (my emphasis) No mention of the fact that it is Gaza which has been under siege for over 15 years. These are the racist double standards of the Zionist ‘left’.

The other ‘left’ Zionist party in Israel’s far-Right coalition, Meretz, has not opposed the attacks and as is normally the case has given the government its support.

However it is good to know that in Britain Palestine Action has once again occupied the factories of Elbit and its subsidiaries. Elbit supplies over 80% of Israel’s drones and missiles.

I have also sent an open letter/complaint to the BBC asking about their double standards. They broadcast Israeli Prime Minister Lapid’s justification for the attacks on Gaza but somehow failed to do the same when it came to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Tony Greenstein

Palestine Action Strikes Back At Elbit Factory in Kent

On Monday 1st July, activists walked calmly through security gates at Discovery Park, an industrial estate near Sandwich in Kent, and entered the grounds of Instro Precision which makes scopes for drones, guns and surveillance equipment amongst other things.

The company is one of four UK based companies owned and controlled by Elbit Systems – a massive Israeli arms company with close ties to the Israeli state government. Elbit make 80% of the drones that were used in Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli operation from 2014 in which thousands of Palestinians were killed (including more than 500 children) and over 10,000 were injured. Amnesty research showed that there was a failure to avoid excessive harm to civilians and was therefore a war crime.

The activists put D-locks on both vehicle entrances to the factory and some climbed on top of a shipping container while others sprayed graffiti on the windows at the front of the building and on a shutter door at the rear of the building.

Police arrived and entered into long discussions with senior managers, including Carl Miller the Operations Director. After several hours, a cutting team arrived with police reinforcements, and once the front gates had been freed, dozens of staff (who had been inside the building on an early or overnight shift) were escorted from the premises while activists chanted, held banners and handed out leaflets.

Mr Miller then locked up the building and police communicated to the protesters that they were free to leave at any time without arrest.

After a total of six and a half hours, and satisfied that the action had closed Elbit-Instro for the day, the activists, some of whom were from East Kent Campaign Against the Arms Trade, left together.

The big question is surely that if Instro’s business is entirely lawful, why on earth would they instruct police not to make any arrests, given that lock-ons, graffiti and disruption of business all have clear legal ramifications?

In a synchronised action on the same day, activists in Oldham targeted another Elbit factory there and some remained in occupation for three days, temporarily closing it down.

The Kent action was the sixth in Thanet, but the first at Instro’s new site on Discovery Park, making it clear that arms manufacturers are not welcome in Kent.

Credit: Jerusalem Post

It seems that Elbit is such a dodgy company that even HSBC, who aren’t exactly known for their moral rectitude, have decided to divest their $600k shareholding due to concerns over illegal cluster munitions.

Palestinians have called for an international embargo on the trade of weapons to and from Israel, and urge individuals and groups to take direct action to shut down Elbit factories across the UK. 

More info via #StopArmingIsrael and @BlockTheFactory

UPDATE: We’ve heard that the Oldham activists, although originally arrested when they came down after three days, have all been released without charge. Elbit are seemingly very forgiving at having their Oldham factory closed down for two whole days.

See Activists target packing firm over ‘transportation of Israeli weapons ’ | Morning Star (

The BBC Carried Israel’s Justification for Bombing Gaza but not Putin’s Explanation for Invading Ukraine – Why?

Open Letter and Complaint to the BBC

Once again when Israel attacks Gaza or the Palestinians in the West Bank the BBC does its best to obscure the origins of the conflict and present the situation as if it is a contest between equals.

Naturally being even handed the BBC is anxious to present both sides of the ‘conflict’ so it carried without comment the ‘explanation’ of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapide that Israel was undertaking the bombardment of Gaza with a ‘heavy heart’ and Israeli government spokespersons explained that they mourned the death of every Palestinian  they murdered. Of course they don’t mourn enough to stop the killing.

And naturally the BBC gives full coverage to the hundreds of ‘rockets’ that Islamic Jihad had fired at Israel, thus giving the impression that it wasn’t Gaza but Israel that was under attack and that Israel had no alternative but to hit back.

There is no explanation that these ‘rockets’ are unguided, crude missiles which a limited range and velocity and thus easy to shoot down.

During the broadcast of the Voice of Israel aka the BBC, a thought occurred to me. Why is it that the BBC’s determination at even handedness didn’t extend to offering Vladimir Putin the opportunity of explaining the Russian case?

With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the BBC has no difficulty in taking sides. There is no ‘both sidism’ there. The BBC is opposed to the  occupation and furthermore it portrays the Ukrainian resistance in a positive light whereas Palestinian resistance is portrayed as ‘terrorism’ and the fighters are described as ‘militants’ (as opposed to Israeli moderates).

Well you may criticise me for my naivety but I thought I should pen a complaint to the BBC.  In fact, because the BBC limit complaints to 2,000 characters I had to submit it over 5 complaint submissions!

Yolande Knell, the BBC’s racist correspondent in Jerusalem

And as I explain in my complaint the BBC’s correspondent in Jerusalem is none other than Yolande Knell, who in her coverage of the Jerusalem Day pogroms by thousands of Israeli settlers, managed to describe the pogroms and the resulting attacks on Palestinian civilians, as a festive party.

With racists like Knell ensconced at the BBC there really is no need to interview Israeli government spokespersons at all.

Tony Greenstein

Dear BBC,

With the latest Israeli attack on Gaza the BBC has once again done its best to justify Israel’s false narrative that it is defending itself against Palestinian aggression. And who better to help it in its task than its racist reporter in Jerusalem, Yolande Knell. Knell is the woman who last May 19 found it impossible to tell the difference between a party and a pogrom in East Jerusalem.

Lest one forget this is how she described a march through Arab East Jerusalem in which dozens of Arabs were physically attacked by thousands of nationalist demonstrators shouting ‘Death to the Arabs’

there are just thousands upon thousands of young Israelis like this that I’ve seen around the city the mood of them is really jubilant, it’s festive, it feels like a party.

On 1 August, in Jenin refugee camp, Israeli soldiers arrested Bassam al-Saadi, a prominent figure in Islamic Jihad. Failing to provoke a response Israel decided anyway to restrict traffic around Israeli communities adjacent to the Gaza-Israel boundary, an area known as the “Gaza envelope” in order to give the appearance of an imminent threat.

Despite no missiles being fired on Friday afternoon Israel launched an attack by air on various points in Gaza. The main target was a residential building in Gaza City. Several missiles landed with precision on three apartments in that building.

The barrage killed Taiseer al-Jabari, the commander of the northern division of al-Quds Brigades (Saraya al-Quds), the military wing of the PIJ. It also killed Alaa Qaddoum, a five-year-old girl, together with a 23-year-old woman and seven other Palestinian men.

By Sunday afternoon, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported 31 people had been killed since Friday, including six children. More than 265 have been wounded. There are to date no Israeli casualties.

The attack on Gaza was therefore an unprovoked attack on a defenceless population. Although the BBC can be relied on not give any background to what has happened the facts are clear enough.

The Israeli blockade of occupied Gaza Strip has been in place since June 2007, when Israel imposed an airtight land, sea and air blockade.

Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters, as well as two of the three border crossing points.

Gaza is subject to a suffocating blockade that restricts the entry of food, medicine and anything that Israel decides might make life more comfortable. 95% of the water is undrinkable and electricity is limited to 3-4 hours a day.

Drones patrol the airspace 24 hours a day presenting an ever present threat to the inhabitants as well as emitting an unbearable high pitched noise.

When it wants to, which is often, Israel attacks Gaza, an area of Palestine of 365sq km, the size of Cape Town or  Detroit knowing full well that it lacks the capability to retaliate. None of this information is provided to viewers by way of background information.

The ‘missiles’ that the BBC talks about are in reality little more than fireworks, unguided, unsophisticated and incapable of significant damage, especially as Israel is able to shoot down over 90% of them. By way of contrast Israel has an airforce, drones and guided high explosive missiles and other ordinance which it can use to devastating effect.

The BBC however refuses to portray the fight as a David and Goliath struggle preferring instead to portray it as a fight between equals. This is just one of the dishonest ways in which the BBC deliberately misinforms its audience.

Although the BBC did report the murder of a 5 year old girl in Gaza it immediately carried the lying justification of Yair Lapid, Israel’s Prime Minister that it was acting in ‘self defence’.

I can’t help wondering why it is that when Russia attacked Ukraine, with far better justification than Israel, that the BBC did not immediately carry Vladimir Putin’s explanation as to why he attacked Ukraine. After all NATO has been expanding up to Russia’s borders since 1999 despite repeated assurances at the time of German reunification that no expansion into Eastern Europe was contemplated.

Or to use another analogy. I wonder whether the BBC would have carried Hitler’s ‘justification’ for the invasion of Poland that it too was an act of self-defence. This is certainly what Hitler claimed at the time.

Once again the BBC has acted as an apologist for Israel’s claims that it was justified in launching an unprovoked attack on Gaza.

Of course the real reasons for Israel’s attack are not hard to fathom. Since its creation Israel has embarked on the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Most of Gaza’s population are refugees from what is now Israel. Ethnic cleansing was the way to ensure that in a ‘Jewish’ state the majority of the population were Jewish.

Israel embarked on the colonisation of the West Bank since 1967, with the settler population now standing at over 600,000. Of course the BBC never describes the apartheid nature of the occupation with the settlers subject to Israeli civil law with the Palestinians living under military rule with no say as to how they are governed. After all the word ‘Apartheid’ is verboten.

It is abundantly clear that in Israel’s eyes the solution to its ‘demographic problem’ of too many Arabs in what is now Greater Israel, is their expulsion. Ethnic cleansing. Another phrase that is not part of the BBC’s lexicon.

What better way to achieve this than the theft of land in the West Bank accompanied by terror from the army and settlers. This is the explanation for the assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, whose reporting of such violence caused Israel considerable political embarrassment. Extra-judicial executions are part and parcel of Israel’s military occupation.  Another fact the BBC choses not to report.

As the Middle East Monitor reported in August 2019:

“There has been an increase recently in Israeli projects seeking solutions to what it calls the “Gaza problem”. They have been focusing on Egypt’s Sinai, and appear to be foreshadowing a potential population transfer of Palestinians to the Sinai peninsula. Such a move would relieve Israel from the security burdens of managing Gaza and instead transfer it onto the Egyptian authorities.”

Of course the BBC treats all Israeli ‘explanations’ in good faith despite the fact that Israel has pursued a policy of ethnic cleansing and Judaification of the Negev, Galilee and East Jerusalem since its inception.  The Koenig Report and the Prawer Plan are somehow never mentioned by the BBC because this would undermine its narrative.

I expect no better of the BBC because at the end of the day it is the mouthpiece of British foreign policy. That is why it is why the BBC should come clean. Up till 2014 the World Service was directly funded by the government via the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before being transferred to the license fee.

Given its role as a NATO propaganda station it is clearly unacceptable that the BBC should be funded by the licence fee.

As the government’s press release last March declared: The government is giving the BBC World Service emergency funding to help it continue bringing independent, impartial and accurate news to people in Ukraine and Russia in the face of increased propaganda from the Russian state. What the government calls impartial is propaganda to most people.

There is really no reason why people should buy a TV license when all they are doing is funding a service that should properly be the responsibility of the government or NATO itself.

Since the BBC does not recognise its responsibility to fairly report affairs in the Middle East or Ukraine there is no obligation on people to buy a licence.

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Tony Greenstein

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