Thursday, May 31, 2012

File under: ‘Little Known Facts’

The Cost of Occupation

This 972mag contributor tries to shed some much needed light on a fairly neglected aspect of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian territory.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the social protests that began on Rothschild Boulevard and swept through Israel last summer was that they drew Israelis on both the right and the left side of the security divide, a rarity in a country where one’s politics are defined by his or her position on the conflict. It didn’t happen by accident; the leaders of J14 faced intense pressure to avoid vocabulary related to the occupation, fearing that they would be branded as a leftist movement. But as activists prepare for a second round of protests this summer, some are demanding that the Palestinian conflict be re-introduced to the debate over the economy.

In a report released this week, “The Cost of the Occupation,” Dr. Shlomo Swirski of the Adva Center think tank spells out the countless ways in which the occupation has damaged the Israeli economy, drawing a direct relationship between massive national spending on security and the increasingly unaffordable costs of rent and daycare. In fact, the report shows that unless there is a political solution to the conflict, Israel will continue to be plagued with increasing income inequality and education gaps more fitting for a third world country

“Most Israelis define the conflict in terms of an ongoing war,” Swirski told me. “In other words, we aren’t talking about occupation, we are talking about self-defense. So people don’t even think in terms of cost, because they think: To hell with it – I’ll pay whatever it takes! Israelis find it very difficult to make the connection between occupation and their own individual or family well-being.”

So how much has the occupation actually cost? The report points out that it’s impossible to say for sure, because most of the military allocations in the defense budget are kept secret, including the cost of command centers, the use of special forces, and the extensive deployment of reserve units. But there is one helpful figure published every year; the total supplements allocated to the Ministry of Defense specifically for military activity in the Palestinian territories. From the end of the first Intifadah in 1989 until 2010, this figure totaled approximately NIS 48 billion [USD $12.4 billion].

Yet even this number demonstrates only a fraction of the true cost of Israel’s occupation. The report details how time and again, economic slumps triggered by outside events are prolonged by the conflict (for example, the 2000 hi-tech crash was extended by the Second Intifadah, and the 2008 global crisis was reinforced by Operation Cast Lead). Potential growth has been extraordinarily stunted. Professor Zvi Eckstein, former Bank of Israel Deputy Governor, is quoted estimating a loss of 0.25 to 0.75 additional percentage points of economic growth a year. Israeli tourism figures are lower than almost every other country in the region, including Egypt and Tunisia during the Arab Spring, and Israeli international standing has cost dearly in the form of relatively low credit ratings (forcing Israel to depend on the US for loan guarantees during the Second Intifada; also during the second Lebanon war, Israel actually purposely avoided declaring a state of emergency, for fear that this could have further risked its credit).

And then there is the slashing of social expenditures in the budget, which during the second Intifadah totaled NIS 65 billion, while the defense budget increased by NIS 15 billion. Cuts to child allowances and unemployment pay have caused a consistent rise in the poverty rate, and government income transfers designed to combat it make an even smaller dent in poverty now than they did in the 1980s. The report quotes economist Momi Dahan, who writes that “an in-depth analysis of the factors causing Israel to have more poor than any other developed country cannot overlook the fact that Israel spends seven percent of its GDP on defense, compared with 1.5 percent on average in the other developed countries.”

In response to the social protests last summer, the government established the Trajtenberg Committee to investigate the problems and make recommendations. The Committee proposed taking NIS 2.5 billion from the defense budget to fund free public education for all children from the age of three. Even though the government formally adopted this recommendation, it ended up cancelling the defense cut and replacing it with a “horizontal cut” across civilian ministries mostly dealing with social affairs. In the end, the security budget was actually raised.

If the social protest movement is serious about change, it needs to talk about the occupation. On June 4 the Adva Center will be hosting a panel discussion, in Hebrew, at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv with the report’s author Dr. Shlomo Swirski, Professor Yossi Yona of Ben Gurion University – a leading member of the committee established by the social protest as an alternative to Trajtenberg, journalist Meirav Michaeli, Colonel Shaul Arieli and social protest leader Alon-Lee Green. The discussion is called “What is the Cost? The Social Protest and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Perhaps some of the ideas coming out of their talk will find their way into the second round of protests expected this summer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Testimony of Neta Golan (2002)

Over at Mondoweiss they ran a wonderful piece by an Israeli critic of Israel by the name of Neta Golan. But commenter Mondoweiss commenter ‘tree’ unearthed another piece, dating back to 2002, by Neta Golan:

My name is Neta Golan.  I was born in Tel Aviv.  My childhood was scary, and simple.  There were good guys and bad guys.  We were the good guys.  The bad guys could be anyone, but they were mostly Arabs.  Now I'm a 3rd generation Israeli: my grandmother was born in what was still called Palestine.  My mother was born in 1948.  And yet, I grew up in the shadow of the holocaust.  It was always my reference point, for everything.

As a child, I met Palestinians.  They were there, working in construction or sanitation.  But there was never a chance to meet as equals.  Instead there were fears, being fed by the media, by what we learned in school.  I learned always that we were defending ourselves from people who wanted to kill us. 

It wasn't until I was 15 years old that I learned of the occupation.  It was during the first intifada, because before the first intifada Palestinians, the occupation, simply didn't exist to us.  The first intifada made it impossible for Israelis to ignore Palestinians.  But I was raised on Jewish history, a history of oppression, dispossession, suffering ethnic cleansing, of being forced out of community after community.  Could we really be doing these things to another people?

I couldn't believe it because I was a part of the consensus opinion in Israel, that we are morally superior.  They are violent.  We have purity of arms.  If we do kill a civilian or an innocent, it's by mistake.  Even if these mistakes happen every single day.  I didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.  I refused to believe that a soldier would open fire on an innocent child, but I saw it.  Unfortunately in Nablus where I live, I see it too often.  When I would hear about a child being killed by a soldier, I would think-no, he must have thrown a stone, he must have been doing something that endangered the soldier and forced the soldier to shoot back.  I wanted to believe that the children were throwing stones.  But when you are in the West Bank, and you see a child throw a stone at a tank, you understand that if that child is killed, that is murder.  And very recently, 5 internationals were with Baha, one of the children who we knew well, and soldiers in an armoured personnel carrier picked him out from among the internationals, shot him twice in the chest, and killed him.

As a child I wouldn't have been able to believe this.  I would say-the proof of their violence is suicide bombing!  We would never do something like that.  One of my classmates asked me: what's the difference between a suicide bombing and a Phantom jet bombing a refugee camp?  I said-we don't bomb refugee camps.  I couldn't believe the only difference between us and them was that we had better weapons.  But I went home and asked my father.
"Is it true that we bomb refugee camps with Phantom Jets?"

"Yes.  The terrorists think they can hide in the refugee camps, so we prove that they cannot" he told me. 
But that wasn't even enough to change me, because the conditioning runs very deep.  So deep that when I first went to the West Bank, during Oslo, I would have anxiety attacks.  Once a week I would go, and every trip I would be filled with anxiety, filled with fear, thinking: "they all want to kill me!"  And it took at least fifteen minutes of seeing people going about their business, talking to each other, working, doing almost anything other than thinking about how much they wanted to kill me, before I calmed down.  Seeing their openness, their willingness to accept me, their generosity, that has been the greatest gift of overcoming my fear-the chance to discover the wisdom, the beauty of the Palestinian people.  Israelis who can't overcome their fear are much poorer for not having the chance to do that.

After a year and a half of this anxiety, it mostly went away.  But as soon as things changed, when the political situation would become worse, I would fall back on that conditioning and become afraid again.  In 2000, when the second intifada broke out, I was afraid.  I was in Nablus and asked my fiancé, am I being paranoid because I'm afraid?  He said: "yes!" 

I am still shocked, sometimes, to discover what my government does, and to discover who the Palestinians really are and what they are really like. 

During the Oslo peace process, I thought, along with most Israelis: "this is wonderful!"  Because in Israel, there was peace.  But when I heard from the Palestinians, I learned that there was not peace.  There were, instead, settlements, losses in freedom of movement.  Overnight in 1991 Palestinians lost the right to go to East Jerusalem without a permit.  East Jerusalem is the capital-the heart-of Palestine in every way: politically, culturally, spiritually, economically.  Overnight they lost the chance to go there and in 1993 with the peace process, they waited to get their chance back.  The resistance to occupation basically stopped.  But peace never came.  What came instead were the bypass roads, settler roads that surrounded all the communities, with the checkpoints and roadblocks.
Thanks to the bypass roads and checkpoints, it isn't just difficult to travel between cities in the West Bank: it's illegal.  This wasn't the case even during the first intifada.  Today the West Bank has been under siege, under curfew, for months and months.  It's possible for the army to besiege the West Bank in this way because of the infrastructure of the bypass roads that was built during the 'peace process'. 

People saw that the peace process was a smokescreen and that on the ground, the occupation was expanding.  Palestinians would tell me, first, 'nothing has changed, but we're waiting for things to get better.'  Next, they would say 'things aren't changing, and we can't stand this.'  For years I tried to tell Israelis that there was no peace process.  Most Israelis didn't want to hear it.  They would say-these things take time.  And when you have a job, a home, freedom, you have time.  But when you have none of these things, for 7 years, as Palestinians didn't have, you don't feel like you have time.

I remember in 1997, Prime Minister Netanyahu made the decision to build a settlement around occupied East Jerusalem, Har Homa.  East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, but it had been surrounded by Israeli settlements.  Har Homa was the final link in a chain that would totally surround East Jerusalem with settlements.   For the Palestinians, this was read as proof that the peace process was over.  There were nonviolent protests.  Palestinians and Israelis joined in.  Feisal Husseini and others were there.  The mountain that was to become Har Homa was squatted by activists.

Netanyahu gave the order to storm the mountain, kick the demonstrators off it, and bulldoze all the trees on the mountain to make room for the settlement.

The night that happened I was devastated.  Again I talked to my father, who supported the decision.
"We can't allow them to tell us where we can and can't build," he said.

I'm not a prophet, but I knew hopelessness, desperation, when I saw it.  And I saw it then.
"But what if there's another suicide bomber?"  There hadn't been one in some time, by that time.
He told me that it was a "calculated risk." 

Hours later there was a suicide bombing.  "Do you still think it was the right decision?"  I asked him.  "Yes, it was a calculated risk."  I couldn't believe it, but I thought "he's upset, as I am, shocked by the bombing, he doesn't mean that." 

Hours after that, our phone rang.  My father answered the phone and when he hung up he was pale.  My cousin had been killed in the bombing. 

My father took back what he said about the calculated risk-I shouldn't have said that, he told me.  "But the only person responsible is the bastard who did it."

The only person responsible.  The "calculated risk" had disappeared.  The context had disappeared.  Just the bomber was responsible.

And the bomber was responsible.  But so was Netanyahu's settlement policy.  And the Israeli government, who are willing to pay the price-- even in Israeli blood, my cousin's blood-- for maintaining and expanding the occupation.
And the international community, as well, for not reacting.  In Israel, I was shocked at the international community's non-reaction.  We kept thinking-there's no way the international community is going to put up with this.  But they did.  And they do, still.

The Palestinian nonviolent movement today faces an unprecedented situation, a level of violence that is unimaginable.  The Israelis don't see it.  I want to show you a day of siege in Jenin, basically a 'non-news' item, where tanks roll around, shooting in the streets to announce curfew as people run in fear.  This happens every single day and it's not news because most journalists don't leave Jerusalem except occasionally to go to Ramallah or Bethlehem.
In an environment like this, people won't join a nonviolent movement.  That's why we need internationals.  We need people to join, to bring the attention of the international community to the situation.  The intifada started with children throwing stones.  They were answered with snipers.  Some Palestinians reacted to this violence by shooting attacks on soldiers and settlers.  They were systematically assassinated, starting in Beit Sahour, and nearly every assassination killed innocent bystanders as well.

I'm often in Balata refugee camp, and I want to believe that Israel believes that its actions  are going to stop resistance but they have to know that they are making the situation so intolerable that non-resistance is a non-option.  There were no suicide bombers from Balata until May of this year.  In May there were assassinations of two young men who were Palestinian fighters, members of the armed resistance.  For the people in these camps, these fighters were heroes who were defending their people.  It was 4 days after these assassinations that a wave of 7 suicide bombers came from Balata. 

The oldest of these bombers was eighteen.

The operations were poorly organized.  Many of them blew up on the way, failed in their missions.  They were obviously acts of pure desperation.  The Israeli Army knows they can't stop attacks like these.  Arafat certainly can't stop them. 

But there is one thing that can stop them.  Hope.

In the first intifada, tens of thousands of Palestinians marched for an end to occupation.  There were some bombings-but Palestinians stopped them.  When Prime Minister Barak wanted to have elections in an atmosphere of quiet, he got his quiet by lifting the siege and opening up a few roadblocks.  That was all it took.  There were no bombings because there was hope.

By your joining us, you can help bring back hope. 

Thank you.

To volunteer with the ISM, see

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ynet: Deport Africans to keep Israel Jewish

After Israel’s local (and much smaller) version of Kristallnacht, it was to be expected that some Israeli MSMs would unashamedly side with the racists, Antony Loewenstein found one at Ynet, a paper that has form when it comes to publishing histrionic baloney:
On Saturday morning, an unusual episode took place near my southern Tel Aviv apartment: A wedding procession. The minister wore a white cape and boasted a well-groomed beard and a cross on his chest. The groom and his friends wore fancy suits. The guests too wore their finest clothes for the event. I did not see the bride.

They sang, danced and rejoiced, possibly without being aware that newspaper headlines a day earlier dealt with whether to expel them or not. When I saw these lovely people – you can call them refugees, infiltrators or asylum seekers based on your own views – and when I remembered Israeli weddings, where masses of guests raid the food as if there’s no tomorrow, I thought to myself: Who are we to brand these people as criminals, the spreaders of disease, violent or just unfriendly? And then I recalled how one night I woke up to yelling and screaming, and when I opened the window I saw a group of African migrants waving planks and bottles at each other. I then remembered how one night the police stopped an Audi and pulled out a barely 16-year-old Sudanese, who apparently did not legally purchase the vehicle. So perhaps they are criminals after all and must be deported? Well, the answer is that this is irrelevant.

It’s irrelevant because there are African criminals and rapists just like there are Jewish or Arab criminals and rapists. Yet despite this, I think they should be deported, for the same reason I think we should finalize a diplomatic agreement with the Palestinians: Because I want to keep living in a Jewish state. Because this is our only state, and because should we fail to curb the flow of infiltrators, the first Hebrew city, Tel Aviv, will not remain Hebrew for long. In 20 years, the Jewish state as a whole may not remain Jewish. And also because we cannot afford to keep hundreds of thousands of people without basic rights and without work. If the alternative is to grant citizenship to every African migrant, I prefer deportation. This is all about demography. As to the couple who got married near my southern Tel Aviv home, I wish them a happy life together; but not here.
One wonders when Ynet will call for a one-child-per-family policy for Israeli Palestinians? It’s all about demography, right?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mecca: the ‘Hiroshima Option’

Noah Schachtman and Spencer Ackerman at have this almost incredible item about a course in ‘how to deal with Islam’, organised at the [US] Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College. Featured by Al Jazeera last night. Mind blowing. (this source contains a multitude of links, as well as excepts from the course’s slide presentation, not reproduced here) 

The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”

The course, first reported by Danger Room last month and held at the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, has since been canceled by the Pentagon brass. It’s only now, however, that the details of the class have come to light. Danger Room received hundreds of pages of course material and reference documents from a source familiar with the contents of the class.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recently ordered the entire U.S. military to scour its training material to make sure it doesn’t contain similarly hateful material, a process that is still ongoing. But the officer who delivered the lectures, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, still maintains his position at the Norfolk, Virginia college, pending an investigation. The commanders, lieutenant colonels, captains and colonels who sat in Dooley’s classroom, listening to the inflammatory material week after week, have now moved into higher-level assignments throughout the U.S. military.

For the better part of the last decade, a small cabal of self-anointed counterterrorism experts has been working its way through the U.S. military, intelligence and law enforcement communities, trying to convince whoever it could that America’s real terrorist enemy wasn’t al-Qaida — but the Islamic faith itself. In his course, Dooley brought in these anti-Muslim demagogues as guest lecturers. And he took their argument to its final, ugly conclusion.

“We have now come to understand that there is no such thing as ‘moderate Islam,’” Dooley noted in a July 2011 presentation (.pdf), which concluded with a suggested manifesto to America’s enemies. “It is therefore time for the United States to make our true intentions clear. This barbaric ideology will no longer be tolerated. Islam must change or we will facilitate its self-destruction.”

Dooley could not be reached for comment. Joint Forces Staff College spokesman Steven Williams declined to discuss Dooley’s presentation or his status at the school. But when asked if Dooley was responsible for the course material, he responded, “I don’t know if I would classify him [Dooley] as responsible. That would be the commandant” of the school, Maj. Gen. Joseph Ward.

That makes the two-star general culpable for rather shocking material. In the same presentation, Dooley lays out a possible four-phase war plan to carry out a forced transformation of the Islam religion. Phase three includes possible outcomes like “Islam reduced to a cult status” and “Saudi Arabia threatened with starvation.” (It’s an especially ironic suggestion, in light of today’s news that Saudi intelligence broke up the most recent al-Qaida bombing plot.)

International laws protecting civilians in wartime are “no longer relevant,” Dooley continues. And that opens the possibility of applying “the historical precedents of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki” to Islam’s holiest cities, and bringing about “Mecca and Medina['s] destruction.”

Dooley’s ideological allies have repeatedly stated that “mainstream” Muslims are dangerous, because they’re “violent” by nature. Yet only a few of al-Qaida’s most twisted fanatics were ever caught musing about wiping out entire cities.

“Some of these actions offered for consideration here will not be seen as ‘political correct’ in the eyes of many,” Dooley adds. “Ultimately, we can do very little in the West to decide this matter, short of waging total war.”

Dooley, who has worked at the Joint Forces Staff College since August 2010, began his eight-week class with a straightforward, two-part history of Islam. It was delivered by David Fatua, a former West Point history professor. “Unfortunately, if we left it at that, you wouldn’t have the proper balance of points of view, nor would you have an accurate view of how Islam defines itself,” Dooley told his students. Over the next few weeks, he invited in a trio of guest lecturers famous for their incendiary views of Islam.

Shireen Burki declared during the 2008 election that “Obama is bin Laden’s dream candidate.” In her Joint Forces Staff College lecture, she told students that “Islam is an Imperialist/Conquering Religion.” (.pdf)

Stephen Coughlin claimed in his 2007 master’s thesis that then-president George W. Bush’s declaration of friendship with the vast majority of the world’s Muslims had “a chilling effect on those tasked to define the enemy’s doctrine.” (.pdf)  Coughlin was subsequently let go from his consulting position to the military’s Joint Staff, but he continued to lecture at the Naval War College and at the FBI’s Washington Field Office. In his talk to Dooley’s class (.pdf), Coughlin suggested that al-Qaida helped drive the overthrow of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak and Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. It was part of a scheme by Islamists to conquer the world, he added. And Coughlin mocked those who didn’t see this plot as clearly as he did, accusing them of “complexification.”

Coughlin titled his talk: “Imposing Islamic Law – or – These Aren’t the Droids Your Looking For!”

Former FBI employee John Guandolo told the conspiratorial World Net Daily website last year that Obama was only the latest president to fall under the influence of Islamic extremists. “The level of penetration in the last three administrations is deep,” Guandolo alleged. In his reference material for the Joint Forces Staff College class, Guandolo not only spoke of today’s Muslims as enemies of the West. He even justified the Crusades, writing that they “were initiated after hundreds of years of Muslim incursion into Western lands.”

Guandolo’s paper, titled “Usual Responses from the Enemy When Presented With the Truth” (.pdf), was one of hundreds of presentations, documents, videos and web links electronically distributed to the Joint Forces Staff College students. Included in that trove: a paper alleging that “it is a permanent command in Islam for Muslims to hate and despise Jews and Christians” (.pdf). So was a video lecture from Serge Trifkovic, a former professor who appeared as a defense witness in several trials of Bosnian Serb leaders convicted of war crimes, including the genocide of Muslims. A web link, titled “Watch Before This Is Pulled,” supposedly shows President Obama — the commander-in-chief of the senior officers attending the course — admitting that he’s a Muslim.

Dooley added the caveats that his views are “not the Official Policy of the United States Government” and are intended “to generate dynamic discussion and thought.” But he taught his fellow military officers that Obama’s alleged admission could well make the commander in chief some sort of traitor. “By conservative estimates,” 10 percent of the world’s Muslims, “a staggering 140 million people … hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit” to Islam. He added, “Your oath as a professional soldier forces you to pick a side here.” It is unclear if Dooley’s “total war” on Muslims also applied to his “Muslim” commander in chief.

After the Pentagon brass learned of Dooley’s presentation, the country’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, issued an order to every military chief and senior commander to get rid of any similar anti-Islam instructional material. Dempsey issued the order because the White House had already instructed the entire security apparatus of the federal government — military and civilian — to revamp its counterterrorism training after learning of FBI material that demonized Islam.

By then, Dooley had already presented his apocalyptic vision for a global religious war. Flynn has ordered a senior officer, Army Maj. Gen. Frederick Rudesheim, to investigate how precisely Dooley managed to get away with that extended presentation in an official Defense Department-sanctioned course. The results of that review are due May 24.

Ironically, Dooley and his guest lecturers paint a dire picture of the forward march of Islamic extremism right as its foremost practitioner feared its implosion. Documents recently declassified by the U.S. government revealed Osama bin Laden fretting about al-Qaida’s brutal methods and damaged brand alienating the vast majority of Muslims from choosing to wage holy war. Little could he have known that U.S. military officers were thinking of ways to ignite one.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Great Book Robbery

Al Jazeera - New Documentary 

When the Arab-Israeli war raged in 1948, librarians from Israel’s National Library followed soldiers as they entered Palestinian homes in towns and villages. Their mission was to collect as many valuable books and manuscripts as possible. They are said to have gathered over 30,000 books from Jerusalem and another 30,000 from Haifa and Jaffa.

Officially it was a 'cultural rescue operation' but for Palestinians it was 'cultural theft'.

It was only in 2008 when an Israeli PhD student stumbled across documents in the national archive that the full extent of the 'collection' policy was revealed.

Using eyewitness accounts, this film tries to understand why thousands of books appropriated from Palestinian homes still languish in the Israeli National Library vaults and why they have not been returned to their rightful owners. Was it cultural preservation or robbery?

Watch this film here

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Mitt Romney and Chums

Yesterday we had Pretzeldential candidate Mitt Romney apparently beating Obama to offering his eulogy a propos the demise of Benzion Netanyahu:

I extend my sincere condolences to the family of Benzion Netanyahu. Not only was he the father of my friend Benjamin, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the father of Israel’s hero of the Entebbe raid, Yonatan Netanyahu, he was also a distinguished historian and leader in his own right.

Really, Mitt? Cos’ now we know also what a charming fellow Benzion really was, thanks to Larry Derfner.  Excerpt from an interview of Benzion Netanyahu by Maariv (there’s more, follow the link):

Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.

A: The Bible finds no worse image than that of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war.

One cannot but wonder whether the apple fell all that far from the tree…

Petite Histoire: The Guardian and Balfour

Nu'man Abd al-Wahid (Mondoweiss)

Imagine if China, for one reason or another suddenly replaced or supplanted the United States as Israel's main diplomatic, financial and military supporter. That the Chinese then provided Israel with all it required to continue the occupation and usurpation of Palestine and to further consolidate its illegal undertakings…What would we then make of  American journalists or writers who then incessantly never fail to remind us of the culpable Chinese support for Israeli criminality while simultaneously totally ignoring, possibly even whitewashing the 40 years when the United States was Israel's main supporter?
Between 1917 and 1948 Great Britain more than any other nation helped to lay the diplomatic, governmental, military and economic foundations for Israel yet if one were to peruse British writing on Palestine, especially the writings of the supposed pro-Palestinians, one would naturally presume that the Palestinian predicament only began on the 15th May 1948 when the British Mandate officially ended and the State of Israel was declared.
As it is known, the defining document or declaration which paved the way, indeed legitimised the Jewish colonisation of Palestine was issued by Imperial Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour. The "Balfour Declaration" announced that the British government would,
'…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…'
What is rarely known, is the imperial jubilance which greeted the publication of the Declaration in the British media. In the vanguard of this euphoria was the liberalGuardian or the Manchester Guardian as it was more accurately known then under the editorship of Charles P. Scott. Cutting through the diplomatic verbiage and any possible obfuscation about the intention behind the declaration, it editorialised in November 1917 that some may speak of Palestine "as a country, but it is not a country...But it will be a country; it will be the country of the Jews. That is the meaning of..." the Balfour Declaration. The fact that in 1917 the population of Palestine was 80,000 Jewish and 700,000 Arab Palestinian literally meant nothing to the Guardian editor.

It further stated that the British government's deliberate policy will be then "to encourage in every way in our power Jewish immigration...with a view to the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State."
The urge to colonise Palestine with Jewish immigration was largely motivated by its proximity to Egypt. As the Guardian stated, "Palestine has a special importance for Great Britain because in the hands of a hostile Power, it can be made...a secure base which a land attack on Egypt can be organised..." Therefore, it is in Britain's interest that "no Power should be seated in Palestine" that "is likely to be hostile" to British Imperialism.

The left-wing New Statesman too came out all guns blazing in support of the Balfour Declaration but was more specific about the nature of Palestine's proximity to the Empire’s interests. It informed its readers that the "special interest of the British Empire in Palestine is due to the proximity of the Suez Canal." The only obvious conclusion is then to imperatively "effect a Zionist restoration under British auspices."

After all, the New Statesman added, the then position of Jews as "unassimilated sojourners in every land but their own can never become satisfactory...It is far make a nation of them" in the interests of Empire.

The more populist Daily Express concurred with the above interpretation of the Balfour Declaration in that it is an "announcement of a Jewish State" and also added that Jews from all over the world will be included in what it perceived to be the "colonisation scheme." The London Times declared "Palestine for the Jews" and reprinted a part of the cabinet approved declaration.

The Guardian's stance on the Balfour Declaration found congruence with the Empire’s first Military Governor of Jerusalem, Sir Ronald Storrs. He too emphasised, but in biological terms, the importance of Egypt in that it was the "jugular vein of the British Empire" and that the Jewish colonisation of Palestine would bring forth "for England 'a little loyal Jewish Ulster' in a sea of potentially hostile Arabism."

A prominent left-wing politician in this period, Colonel Josiah Wedgwood, opted for a geographical analogy to describe British interests in the Arab World. He argued that Palestine was the "Clapham Junction" of the British Empire. As such a "friendly and efficient population" is required to settle there. And because Egyptians do not want the British occupation of their country, Palestine should be settled with "men on whom we can depend, if only because they depend on us...The Jews depend on us."
For Winston Churchill, the Zionist colonisation of Palestine would mean that Jews "would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire."

However, what distinguished the Guardian's unequivocal endorsement of the Balfour Declaration was not only the approval of Zionist colonisation, which would explicitly lead to a "Jewish State," but also just as equally the contempt it had for the indigenous Arabs of Palestine or in the words of Storrs, the "present aborigines." In the spirit of colonialism, the Guardian editorial racially degenerated and dehumanised the Arabs of Palestine as "at a low stage of civilisation" and that they contain within "itself none of the elements of progress..." In other words the Arabs of Palestine were in a state of perennial civilisational arrested development.

Racial belittlement as a justification for colonialism was not unique to Palestine. The insistence that natives of a particular land are at low level of civilisation and therefore that land is ripe for colonisation by European colonisers was also utilised in Africa and elsewhere. As Frantz Fanon was to argue, Western bourgeois, "racial prejudice as regards the nigger and the Arab is a racism of contempt; it is a racism which minimises what it hates." C.P.Scott was merely confirming and endorsing the fact that "racism is the ideological weapon of imperialistic politics."
Indeed, a former Guardian writer and Labour politician in this period, H.N. Brailsford claimed that the Arabs were incapable of developing Palestine because they were "degenerate semi-savages" who had no right to "exclude millions" of settlers. For Churchill, the indigenous Arabs of Palestine were tantamount to "dogs in the manger" and only because the dog had been lain there for a long period, the dog has no final right to the manger. Or as he elaborated, "I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia."

It is quite clear from C.P. Scott's Guardian and other editorials of November 1917 that the British Empire wanted Palestine colonised for its own interests or as an early settler would argue,
"...the British wanted Palestine – and very much so – for their own interests, and it was not the Zionists who drew them to the country...had there been no Zionists in those days the British would have had to invent them."
The idea and will to plant Jewish colonisation in Palestine existed independently of the ideology of Zionism. The Empire had its interests, namely Egypt and specifically the Suez Canal. Much of the Empire's "plunder" or the "treasures in India" was brought back to the imperial metropolis through the Suez Canal.

What distinguished this "colonisation scheme" from previous ones in Africa and Asia is that the British Empire utilised European Jews rather than its own subjects from the metropolis.
Maybe this is the reason why in the final months of the "Zionist Mandate" in 1948, Imperial Britain – the "greatest Empire in history" - watched by while seven hundred thousand Palestinian Arabs were expelled, directly and indirectly from the country and over 400 villages, towns and centres had been ethnically cleansed of their indigenous inhabitants.