Al-Jazeerah, August 19, 2006
As the world has witnessed in Lebanon and Palestine, Hizbullah and Hamas have a long way to go to rival the ferocity and utter ruthlessness of the Israeli military. Their goals are in diametrical opposition. Despite propaganda and resolutions to the contrary, Hizbullah and Hamas are resistance organizations, freedom fighters, determined to defend and liberate their people. Israel's military function is the alleged security of the Jewish state, but the achievement of that goal is highly questionable. Its hidden agenda or role, viewed historically, is the oppression and subjugation of the Arab-Muslim people so that Western Powers can rape their land and rob it of its riches – chief of which is oil.
Though oil seeps had been seen in the Middle East for thousands of years, the history of the modern oil industry dates back to the 19th century when oil wells in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Poland and elsewhere provided cure-all medicines, lubricants and illuminants. Oil increased in value toward the end on the century as the external combustion engine (steam) was replaced by the internal combustion engine. Soon science and industry joined to investigate its properties for use in manufacturing, transportation, and the fledgling electric industry.
The first underground pipeline in the United States was laid in 1865. By the 1870s, oil wars had begun in earnest between the American Rockefellers, Europe's Rothschilds and others. Not long afterwards, the Rothschilds undercut Rockefellers’ Standard Oil Company through their agent Marcus Samuel who organized oil tankers, secured canal access, and built local storage capacity throughout the Far East. By 1908, oil was struck in Persia and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was incorporated the following year.
Writing for National Geographic Magazine, December 1938, in an article entitled, "Change Comes to Bible Lands," Fredrick Simpick recalled, "Iran’s main fields lie southeast of the Zagros Mountains, with the main pipeline running down the Karum Valley. When I first saw this then-fever-cursed Persian coast in 1909, pioneer American 'well shooters’ from Texas, sweating in awful heat, were dragging pipe-laden barges up the Karum River to these new fields." By 1917, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company owned the majority interest.
Perhaps not so coincidentally, in 1917 British Foreign Minister Balfour promised the Zionist Jews a homeland in Palestine. However, the "Declaration" was not presented to a sovereign power. As historian Robert John explains, the letter was sent "to an international financier of the banking house of Rothschild who had been made a peer of the realm." The letter was posted from the Foreign Office, November 2nd, 1917.
"Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet:"
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
"I should be grateful if you would bring this Declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation."
Arthur James Balfour"
In the aftermath of WW I, the League of Nations entrusted Palestine and Iraq to Britain, and Lebanon and Syria to France, as Class "A" Mandates, which meant they were to gain self-rule. By 1928, the colonial Zionist effort in Palestine began in earnest, but not without Arab opposition. Indeed, the creation in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 appears to have been in counterpoint to the influx and attitudes of the Jewish colonial Zionist enterprise.
By 1934, the first oil pipeline connecting Iraq with Tripoli, Lebanon was laid; by 1935, a second line to Haifa, Palestine was opened. Throughout the 1930s, oil exploration continued in the desert, and later offshore, in what is now the United Arab Emirates (UAE). By 1938, oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia which is when the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) was founded.
The 1938 National Geographic contains photos of the 618-mile oil pipe line "laid from Iraq to the Mediterranean" as well as photos from Haifa, Palestine. One photo is captioned, "Pumping up an oil cargo from Haifa’s flexible undersea hose," another reads, "Propellers churning, a ship tows out the Haifa end of the Iraq pipe line to make a 'filling station’ for tankers." Palestine had become a crucial port for the oil industry. It was also strategically placed, an ideal spot to establish a Western-oriented country in the Middle East.
Though strategically Israel is a Western ally, its democracy is a façade, a pretense. Tear back the mask and you find a country not "of the people, for the people, by the people," but governed by a matrix of Basic Laws meticulously constructed to ensure a caste system overlaid by virulent racism. Despite the best efforts of humanistic Israeli Jews (and Jews throughout the world) who strongly believe in the shared dignity of all people, as a colonial Jewish state, Israel is imploding from within, a nation of implants - of strangers, at war with its indigenous citizens and itself as it demands ever-increasing racial, ethnic and religious purity. Today, the synergy of this mixture spills out into the streets and fires the virulence of its military aggressions.
Ynetnews.com recently ran a series of articles on Sephardic Jews banned from living in or even entering Ashkenazi (Caucasian) Jewish neighborhoods. One Ynet headline news summary reported, "Reception committee at ultra-Orthodox town decides to ban additional families of Middle Eastern descent from entering some of its streets, buildings in order to 'maintain community's high spiritual level’…"
Another Ynetnews article featured the following heading, "Orthodox riot; unhappy with neighbors / Efrat Weiss. Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox block road in town of Beit Shemesh, hurl stones at police officers in protest of new residents who are 'not religious enough'; five protestors arrested…"
Recently, a study presented during a Van Leer Jerusalem Institute conference asserted that Ashkenazim consider their culture superior to that of the Sephardim which has resulted in the establishment of a new Ashkenaz movement in Israel. "Additional studies on the matter indicate that people of Ashkenaz origin tend to refer to themselves as 'Ashkenazim,' while Sephardim usually define themselves as 'Israelis,'" according to Prof. Yehuda Shenhav of the Van Leer Institute.
In an article on Arab Jews a.k.a. the Mizrahim (the eastern ones), Adam Hanieh states, "The official ideology of Israel, Zionism, has always portrayed itself as a liberation movement for all Jews. But although Zionism claims to offer a home for all Jews, that home has never been offered equally."
"The question of Arab Jews strikes at the heart of the Zionist contradiction -- an attempt to build an anti-Arab, exclusively Jewish state on Arab lands."
"From the early days of the Zionist project, large numbers of Jews from neighboring Arab countries were brought to Palestine. Ostensibly they were 'returning home’, but in reality they came as cheap labour for their European counterparts (Ashkenazi Jews)," Hanieh claims.
The racism inherent in the Israeli caste system has resulted in inferior education and job opportunities, poverty and tension within Jewish society. According to Hanieh, "Today Mizrahim constitute around 50% of the Israeli population. Palestinian Arabs make up another 20%, so the total non-European population is about 70%. This rises to 90% with the inclusion of Palestinians from the occupied territories, making clear the colonial nature of Israel."
Adding to the tension are the attitudes held by Jewish adherents of the Talmud and its reviling of the Goy, the non-Jew. Of all the groups Israelis should feel gratitude toward the Christian Zionist supporters of Israel should top the list. But that is not always the case. "Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack Christian tourists in Jerusalem," ran the June 28th headline in an article by Jonathan Lis, a correspondent for Haaretz. Apparently, 100 residents of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She'arim in Jerusalem became enraged at the sight of 50 pro-Israel Christian tourists in their neighborhood. Their offence? They arrived "wearing orange T-shirts with the words 'Love your neighbor as yourself’ printed across them."
In Professor Israel Shahak’s book, "Jewish History, Jewish Religion, The Weight of Three Thousand Years," he questions the Utopian vision and reality of the Jewish state. He points out that the creation of the modern state system freed more enlightened Jews to break from the confines of their ghettos and fully participate as citizens in the countries in which they lived. He holds that Zionism was a reaction to that freedom and offered a chance for rabbis to reassert their control over the Jewish community.
In Chapter 5, "The Laws Against Non-Jews", Shahak explains that the Halakhah, the "legal system of classical Judaism - as practiced by virtually all Jews from the 9th century to the end of the l8th and as maintained to this very day in the form of Orthodox Judaism - is based primarily on the Babylonian Talmud."
However, problems arose among Christians and Muslims offended by the text that resulted in anti-Semitic reactions. "A few of the most offensive passages were bodily removed from all editions printed in Europe after the mid-16th century. In all other passages, the expressions 'Gentile', 'non-Jew', 'stranger' (goy, eino yehudi, , nokhri) - which appear in all early manuscripts and printings as well as in all editions published in Islamic countries - were replaced by terms such as 'idolator', 'heathen' or even 'Canaanite' or 'Samaritan', terms which could be explained away but which a Jewish reader could recognize as euphemisms for the old expressions."
"During certain periods the Tsarist Russian censorship became stricter and, seeing the above mentioned euphemisms for what they were, forbade them too. Thereupon the rabbinical authorities substituted the terms 'Arab' or 'Muslim' (in Hebrew, Yishma'eli - which means both) or occasionally 'Egyptian', correctly calculating that the Tsarist authorities would not object to this kind of abuse." However, once securely ensconced in Israel, the rabbis reestablished the most offending passages.
It is from the Russian translation, where the word Goy was substituted with the word Arab, from which many of the most extreme elements within the Jewish community derive justification for merciless attacks upon the Palestinians – such as those experienced in Hebron by the illegal settlers. During the last election, the Russian, Avigdor Liberman, the head of 'The National Unit’, came in third behind Olmert and Peretz. He advocates the total "ethnic cleansing" of Arab Israeli citizens from Israel.
"Although the state's criminal laws make no distinction between Jew and Gentile, such distinction is certainly made by Orthodox rabbis, who in guiding their flock follow the Halakhah. Of special importance is the advice they give to religious soldiers," Shahak states.
"Since even the minimal interdiction against murdering a Gentile outright applies only to 'Gentiles with whom we [the Jews] are not at war', various rabbinical commentators in the past drew the logical conclusion that in wartime all Gentiles belonging to a hostile population may, or even should be killed. Since 1973 this doctrine is being publicly propagated for the guidance of religious Israeli soldiers. The first such official exhortation was included in a booklet published by the Central Region Command of the Israeli Army, whose area includes the West Bank. In this booklet the Command's Chief Chaplain writes:
"When our forces come across civilians during a war or in hot pursuit or in a raid, so long as there is no certainty that those civilians are incapable of harming our forces, then according to the Halakhah they may and even should be killed... Under no circumstances should an Arab be trusted, even if he makes an impression of being civilized ... In war, when our forces storm the enemy, they are allowed and even enjoined by the Halakhah to kill even good civilians, that is, civilians who are ostensibly good."
According to Shahak, "An even greater evil influence arises from special laws against the ancient Canaanites and other nations who lived in Palestine before its conquest by Joshua, as well as against the Amalekites. All those nations must be utterly exterminated, and the Talmud and talmudic literature reiterate the genocidal biblical exhortations with even greater vehemence. Influential rabbis, who have a considerable following among Israeli army officers, identify the Palestinians (or even all Arabs) with those ancient nations, so that commands like 'thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth' acquire a topical meaning."
Following the Palestinian election in January, if the Israeli leadership had been willing to consider reconciliation, it might have signaled the beginning of a true two state solution. After all, Hamas maintained a truce with Israel for 1 ½ years despite Israel’s non-stop attacks by land, sea and the air. Hamas also let it be known that they would be willing to extend the truce for 50 or 100 additional years. Instead of using this as an opening, Israel accused Palestine of being an "Axis of Evil" and declared war on the Palestinian Authority, and thus on the Palestinian population.
The charade, of course, was aided and abetted by President Bush and the US Congress through sponsorship of anti-Palestinian legislation that is basically a policy of genocide regarding the so-called Palestinian terrorists – which as we have learned involves every Palestinian Arab man, woman and child. The excuse was that the Palestinians voted for terrorism when they democratically elected Hamas. For far too long, imprisonment behind the racist Apartheid Wall, curfews and blockades have served to create starvation and marginal health care, most funding has been stopped, and infrastructure bombed and bulldozed into oblivion. Hundreds of Palestinians have died and thousands injured since Hamas was elected in January, and most of the elected leadership has been jailed.
And in Lebanon, with over 1300 civilians known to be killed, 10s of thousands wounded, and over a million who fled for their lives, Israel's debilitating air strikes against privately owned factories throughout Lebanon dealt a devastating blow to an economy paralyzed by weeks of hits on residential areas and crucial infrastructure, according to the Daily Star of Beirut. The production facilities of the largest dairy farm were destroyed as well as a pharmaceutical plant, and the fishing industry may be obliterated for decades due to the catastrophic oil spill from Israel's targeted bombing. How long it will take to restore the country is anyone's guess. Israel also bombed apartment buildings, schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages and gas stations - anything and everything in its gun sights - including Lebanese military barracks and outposts, Red Cross convoys and civilians attempting to escape the onslaught.
The past president of the Lebanese Association of Industrialists, Jacques Sarraf remarked, "Israel is the enemy and they are doing everything they can to destroy the country, economically, socially, politically."
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour also criticized the thousands of dead and dying and injured in Lebanon and criticized Israeli shelling which was targeting killing innocent civilians. "International law demands accountability," she said in Geneva. "The scale of the killings in the region, and their predictability, could engage the personal criminal responsibility of those involved, particularly those in a position of command and control." It could, and should, but will it?
Even King Abdullah, who is close to the Bush administration, issued a statement: "If the option of peace fails as a result of Israeli arrogance, then the only option remaining will be war, and God alone knows what the region would witness in a conflict that would spare no one." Given Israeli aggression and the financial, military and legislative support from the United States, King Abdullah may be correct. If the current truce does not last, the only option might be open warfare throughout the Middle East.
In her brief stay in Beirut, before being whisked away to the international conference in Rome, US Secretary of State Rice stayed long enough to deliver Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire. It was hard to tell if she was speaking on behalf of the United States or as an emissary of Israel. Or, is there a difference? In Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, and Afghanistan and with plans to take on Syria and Iran, it appears that Israel and the USA are pursuing a scorched earth policy towards Arabs and Islam just as Hitler once pursued the Jews.