By Uhuru B. Rowe
October 20, 2015
On the 18th of October, 2015, an early twenty-something Eritrean migrant by the name of Habton Zerhom, was unjustly shot by an Israeli security guard and then beaten by a mob of Israeli vigilantes in the town of Beersheba . He later died from his wounds. Zerhom’s murder resulted from an earlier event where an Arab-Israeli citizen with a gun and knife allegedly killed an Israeli soldier, stole his weapon and opened fire on a crowd injuring nine. In the mayhem that followed, a video shows Zerhom crawling for cover when a security guard walks up and shoots him at close range. As Zerhom laid in a pool of his own blood, he is cursed, kicked and hit with a rack of chairs by a racist mob of Israeli Jews. It was later reported that the security guard mistook Zerhom for an attacker.
According to other news reports, Zerhom worked in a plant nursery and was in Beersheba to renew his work Visa. Zerhom, who migrated to Israel to seek a better way of life, “was a modest man, quiet, and he tried to do his job as best as he could”, said his employer, Sagi Malachi. Immediatly following the incident, Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “It is a disgrace to Israeli society, and those that carried out this lynching need to be found and brought to justice.” What is interesting is that Amidror used the word lynching to describe the brutal murder of Zerhom but not the killings of tens of thousands of Palestinians since 1947.
Recently Israel has been rocked by knife- weilding Palestinian protesters reacting to news that the Israeli government is planning a hostile takeover of the Temple Mount, which is home to Islam’s third holiest site- the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel has occupied this site since 1967. But the current Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted far beyond the planned takeover of the Temple Mount. It’s rooted in historical land-theft, genocide and the colonization of the Palestinian people by imperialist Israeli occupying state.
Israel’s rise to power and dominance in Palestine began in the late 1800s when European Jews formed a movement called Zionism which sought to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Jews began arriving en masse in the early 1900s which angered the Arab population who had been the majority in the region since A.D. 600. In 1947, to quell a potential uprising by Arab Palestinians, the U.N. proposed dividing the region into an Arab state and a Jewish state which the Palestinians rejected of course. Not to be deterred from inhabiting the land which it felt entitled to based upon some Bible profecy, the settler-occupying state of Israel forcibly came into being on May 14, 1948.
By 1967, after countless imperialist wars of aggression against a defenseless Palestinian people, Israeli military forces captured and occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian intifadas (uprisings) is a natural reaction to almost seven decades of brutal Israeli occupation of their homeland. Palestinian Revolutionary Nationalism developed as a response to Zionism and its frequent land-thefts and unauthorized settlement expansions into Palestinian territories. But Israel’s bullying, colonization and subjugation of the Palestinian people wouldn’t be possible without the approxim-
ately $3 billion Israel receives annually in U.S. military aid. This aid guarantees the U.S. a srategic military ally in the Middle East . Clearly the U.S. government is an accomplice to the crime of genocide commited by Israel against poor, defenseless Palestinian men, women and children. Don’t think it’s genocide? According to the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, genocide means “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent within the group; (e) and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Taking the United Nations’ definition of the crime of genocide into consideration, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see settler-occupying state of Israel is committing mass genocide against the Palestinian people via outright murder, bombing campaigns, embargos, land theft, forced migrations, internment camps, and mass arrests and detentions of Palestians since 1948. A Jewish people who once suffered genocide at the hands of Hitler’s Nazi regime has now assumed the role of neo-nazis by committing Nazi-like genocide against the Palestinian people in part because of their ethnic-Arab background and Muslim beliefs.
The Israeli colonialism/imperialism that the Palestinian people are confronted with on a daily basis is equal in its intensity as the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and American variety which nearly wiped out entire populations of Indigenous Natives in Central & South America and Mexico beginning in 1492 and 1519 respectively; which led to the mass abductions of Africans from their homeland for capitalist profit in the 15th century; which led to the enslavement, lynching and mass incarceration of Africans and their descendants in America beginning in 1619; and which the Haitian people successfully resisted during the Haitian Revolution from 1790-1802.
Those of us who embrace and practice Proletarian Internationalism and Revolutionary Intercommunalism must stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and oppressed people all over the world who are engaged in national liberation struggles for their right to self-determination.