I had a bit of an exchange with an American on Quora who said he thought that electing Joe Biden would resolve the US-China conflict and put an end to the trade wars.
But anyone who has been listening to Biden’s speeches these days knows better than that. Analysts believe Joe is trying to outflank Trump on the China issue -- showing that he is tougher than Trump on China.
I keep trying to show that there is no actual two-party system in the US. Ron Paul has said that there is one party in Washington, namely, the War Party, and that is correct. They are invariably together on the main issues, ie, the systemic problems that are bringing down America, and they have obviously agreed never to mention these, namely
--the profligate spending and the issuance of unbacked dollars by the Fed to “fix” the debt;
--the US addiction to war, ie, the constant quest for an enemy du jour and the building of “legal” cases against said enemy, followed by threats of sanctions and war, and then typically by actual sanctions and wars.
--the lack of affordable health care and assistance to the sick too poor to afford this care. The problem has been magnified since the coronavirus pandemic was announced, with the Fed printing up trillions that were mostly apportioned among corporations and banktos.
--the increasingly yawning gap between rich and poor and a government that caters to its rich pals while throwing the poor onto the street. This was poignantly illustrated by the “coronavirus bailout” that gave billions to businesses that were shuttered and to investors foolish enough to sink their money in the inherently unprofitable shale, while providing not a red cent to poor people infected with the virus. After all, if the government is supposedly doing all it can to stop the pandemic, then wouldn’t it have to focus on preventing everyone from getting infected, not just the rich?
--The gifting of billions of dollars each year to a corrupt Israeli government, based on the absurdity that this money is needed to prevent another holocaust, perhaps unleashed by unarmed stone-throwing Palestinian youngsters – who need to be shot to maim or kill them because only terrorists throw stones at righteous IDF soldiers, the inheritors of the Holy Land.
But the gullible populaces is subliminally indoctrinated to believe that government assistance to anyone but a rich CEO or banker would lead to communism and soon everyone would be locked up in a gulag or jailed like Julian Assange – oops, I mean, like a Soviet dissident.
No US political party challenges this unacceptable state of affairs described above. And if you listen to the presidential debates during election years, you will never hear any moderator ask questions related to them. Yet these are the issues that impact Americans more than any other. Thus, the most important issues by far are ignored by the political class and media, and yet we call that system “democracy.”
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora.
With the collapse in the price of oil, will Iran’s leadership turn to additional armed conflict in the region to retain power and to boost the price of oil?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
You know, there ought to be an American Quora and a Quora for the rest of us.
Iran is not like the US, looking for an excuse for war 24/7, and it is not obsessed with retaining power. It is, however, interested in the welfare of its fellow Shiites and other victims of US bombings in Iraq. Syria, Lebanon and Libya. The US is one of the very few countries that obsesses over grabbing and retaining power, and the US media and politicians have indoctrinated many Americans to think other countries have the same agenda. It’s not true.
Further, Iran does not depend on oil for all of its income. It co-owns, with Qatar, the biggest gas deposit in the world:
Factbox: Qatar, Iran share world's biggest gas field
Iran’s main reason for using its military is to defend its sovereignty and the reason it must do that is that the US does not respect anyone’s sovereignty. It keeps thinking it owns Iran. After all, Iran sits on huge energy deposits and to the US way of thinking, that makes it American property (remember: Trump said US troops are in Syria to “keep the oil.” No other American leader of either party challenged him, saying “Syrian oil belongs to the Syrian people, Mr. President.” Because most US politicians would have said the same thing if they had had the courage).
Further, if Iran wants to sell its oil, it will. Already it has broken through the US blockade in the Gulf to sell a record amount of oil to Syria. Iran breaks through US-led blockade to deliver record amount of oil to Syria. (Reminder: the US does not own either Iran or Syria and has no right to deny Syria the acquisition of Iranian oil. This is a difficult concept for many readers of US media and listeners to US politicians).
In addition, Russia, China and others may be buying a lot of Iranian oil on the high seas where no one can monitor the trade (after all, neither China nor Russia read enough US news media to know that the US owns Iran). Europe also has set up the SWIFT work-around INSTEX that makes transactions with US-sanctioned countries like Iran invisible. It is a kind of stealth transfer platform for non-dollar currencies.
So Iran does not have to use its military to sell its oil. As for boosting the price, while it is true that military conflicts can help with that, such as the Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities a while back, the IRGC leaders know that they can’t afford to waste too many resources on war. After all, they don’t think like the US. They’re Iranians.
In the following you will find the first chapter of a book that explains in detail a chapter in world history that has been deleted by historians, msm, educators, politicians and other important people so as to cement in the minds of the world a fiction that today, few people actually doubt. We glibly talk about fake news, but this particular fake news item is the crown jewel of all fake news, and we intend to continue to include these chapters indefinitely until the whole book is in your possession. However, I recommend downloading the entire book and reading it on your own. The very topic is taboo. You can have your tweet deleted for bringing it up,
And consider this admonition from Leviticus 19:18, which is at the heart of the entire book: “...love your neighbour as yourself.” Remember this and where it came from.
To download the book free, click here.
An ‘Alleged’ Ethnic Cleansing?
It is the present writer’s view that ethnic cleansing is a well-defined policy of a particular group of persons to systematically eliminate another group from a given territory on the basis of religious, ethnic or national origin. Such a policy involves violence and is very often connected with military operations. It is to be achieved by all possible means, from discrimination to extermination, and entails violations of human rights and international humanitarian law . . . Most ethnic cleansing methods are grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and 1977 Additional Protocols.
Drazen Petrovic, ‘Ethnic Cleansing – An Attempt at
Methodology’, European Journal of International Law,
DEFINITIONS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING
Ethnic cleansing is today a well-defined concept. From an abstraction associated almost exclusively with the events in the former Yugoslavia, ‘ethnic cleansing’ has come to be defined as a crime against humanity, punishable by international law. The particular way some of the Serbian generals and politicians were using the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ reminded scholars they had heard it before. It was used in the Second World War by the Nazis and their allies, such as the Croat militias in Yugoslavia. The roots of collective dispossession are, of course, more ancient: foreign invaders have used the term (or its equivalents) and practised the concept regularly against indigenous populations, from Biblical times to the height of colonialism.
The Hutchinson encyclopedia defines ethnic cleansing as expulsion by force in order to homogenise the ethnically mixed population of a particular region or territory. The purpose of
expulsion is to cause the evacuation of as many residences as possible, by all means at the expeller’s disposal, including nonviolent ones, as happened with the Muslims in Croatia, expelled after the Dayton agreement of November 1995.
This definition is also accepted by the US State Department. Its experts add that part of the essence of ethnic cleansing is the eradication, by all means available, of a region’s history. The most common method is that of depopulation within ‘an atmosphere that
legitimises acts of retribution and revenge’. The end result of such acts is the creation of a refugee problem. The State Department looked in particular at what happened around May 1999 in the town of Peck in Western Kosovo. Peck was depopulated within twenty-four hours, a result that could only have been achieved through advance planning followed by systematic execution. There had also been sporadic massacres, intended to speed up the operation. What happened in Peck in 1999 took place in almost the same manner in hundreds of Palestinian villages in 1948.1
When we turn to the United Nations, we find it employs similar definitions. The organisation discussed the concept seriously in 1993. The UN’s Council for Human Rights (UNCHR) links a
state’s or a regime’s desire to impose ethnic rule on a mixed area – such as the making of Greater Serbia – with the use of acts of expulsion and other violent means. The report the UNCHR published defined acts of ethnic cleansing as including ‘separation of men from women, detention of men, explosion of houses’ and subsequently repopulating the remaining houses with another ethnic group. In certain places in Kosovo, the report noted, Muslim
militias had put up resistance: where this resistance had been stubborn, the expulsion entailed massacres.2
Israel’s 1948 Plan D, mentioned in the preface, contains a repertoire of cleansing methods that one by one fit the means the UN describes in its definition of ethnic cleansing, and sets the
background for the massacres that accompanied the massive expulsion.
Such references to ethnic cleansing are also the rule within the scholarly and academic worlds. Drazen Petrovic has published one of the most comprehensive studies on definitions of ethnic
cleansing. He associates ethnic cleansing with nationalism, the making of new nation states, and national struggle. From this perspective he exposes the close connection between politicians and the army in the perpetration of the crime and comments on the
place of massacres within it. That is, the political leadership delegates the implementation of the ethnic cleansing to the military level without necessarily furnishing any systematic plans or
providing explicit instructions, but with no doubt as to the overall objective.3
Thus, at one point – and this again mirrors exactly what happened in Palestine – the political leadership ceases to take an active part as the machinery of expulsion comes into action and
rolls on, like a huge bulldozer propelled by its own inertia, only to come to a halt when it has completed its task. The people it crushes underneath and kills are of no concern to the politicians who set it in motion. Petrovic and others draw our attention to the distinction between massacres that are part of genocide, where they are premeditated, and the ‘unplanned’ massacres that are a direct result of the hatred and vengeance whipped up against the background of a general directive from higher up to carry out an
Thus, the encyclopedia definition outlined above appears to be consonant with the more scholarly attempt to conceptualise the crime of ethnic cleansing. In both views, ethnic cleansing is an effort to render an ethnically mixed country homogenous by expelling a
particular group of people and turning them into refugees while demolishing the homes they were driven out from. There may well be a master plan, but most of the troops engaged in ethnic cleansing do not need direct orders: they know beforehand what is expected of them. Massacres accompany the operations, but where they occur they are not part of a genocidal plan: they are a key tactic to accelerate the flight of the population earmarked for expulsion. Later on, the expelled are then erased from thecountry’s official and popular history and excised from its collective memory. From planning stage to final execution, what occurred in
Palestine in 1948 forms a clear-cut case, according to these informed and scholarly definitions, of ethnic cleansing.
The electronic encyclopedia Wikipedia is an accessible reservoir of knowledge and information. Anyone can enter it and add to or change existing definitions, so that it reflects – by no means empirically but rather intuitively – a wide public perception of a certain idea or concept. Like the scholarly and encyclopedic definitions mentioned above, Wikipedia characterises ethnic cleansing as massive expulsion and also as a crime. I quote:
At the most general level, ethnic cleansing can be understood as the forced expulsion of an ‘undesirable’ population from a given territory as a result of religious or ethnic discrimination, political, strategic or ideological considerations, or a combination of these.4
The entry lists several cases of ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century, beginning with the expulsion of the Bulgarians from Turkey in 1913 all the way up to the Israeli pullout of Jewish settlers from Gaza in 2005. The list may strike us as a bit bizarre in the way it incorporates within the same category Nazi ethnic cleansing and the removal by a sovereign state of its own people after it declared them illegal settlers. But this becomes possible because of the rationale the editors – in this case, everyone with access to the site – adopted for their policy, which is that they make sure the adjective ‘alleged’ precedes each of the historical cases on their list.
Wikipedia also includes the Palestinian Nakba of 1948. But one cannot tell whether the editors regard the Nakba as a case of ethnic cleansing that leaves no room for ambivalence, as in the
examples of Nazi Germany or the former Yugoslavia, or whether they consider this a more doubtful case, perhaps similar to that of the Jewish settlers whom Israel removed from the Gaza Strip. One criterion this and other sources generally accept in order to gauge the seriousness of the allegation is whether anyone has been indicted before an international tribunal. In other words, where the perpetrators were brought to justice, i.e., were tried by an
international judicial system, all ambiguity is removed and the crime of ethnic cleansing is no longer ‘alleged’. But upon reflection, this criterion must also be extended to cases that should have been brought before such tribunals but never were. This is admittedly more open-ended, and some clear-cut crimes against humanity require a long struggle before the world recognises them as historical facts. The Armenians learned this in the case of their genocide: in 1915, the Ottoman government embarked on a systematic decimation of the Armenian people. An estimated one million perished by 1918, but no individual or group of individuals
has been brought to trial.
ETHNIC CLEANSING AS A CRIME
Ethnic cleansing is designated as a crime against humanity in international treaties, such as that which created the International Criminal Court (ICC), and whether ‘alleged’ or fully recognised, it is subject to adjudication under international law. A special International Criminal Tribunal was set up in The Hague in the case of the former Yugoslavia to prosecute the perpetrators and criminals and, similarly, in Arusha, Tanzania, in the case of Rwanda. In other instances, ethnic cleansing was defined as a war crime even when no legal process was instigated as such (for example, the actions committed by the Sudanese government in
This book is written with the deep conviction that the ethnic cleansing of Palestine must become rooted in our memory and consciousness as a crime against humanity and that it should be excluded from the list of alleged crimes. The perpetrators here are not obscure – they are a very specific group of people: the heroes of the Jewish war of independence, whose names will be quite familiar to most readers. The list begins with the indisputable leader
of the Zionist movement, David Ben-Gurion, in whose private home all early and later chapters in the ethnic cleansing story were discussed and finalised. He was aided by a small group of people I refer to in this book as the ‘Consultancy’, an ad-hoc cabal assembled solely for the purpose of plotting and designing the dispossession of the Palestinians.5 In one of the rare documents that records the meeting of the Consultancy, it is referred to as the
Consultant Committee – Haveadah Hamyeazet. In another document the eleven names of the committee members appear, although they are all erased by the censor (nonetheless, as will
transpire, I have managed to reconstruct all the names).6
This caucus prepared the plans for the ethnic cleansing and supervised its execution until the job of uprooting half of Palestine’s native population had been completed. It included first and
foremost the top-ranking officers of the future Jewish State’s army, such as the legendary Yigael Yadin and Moshe Dayan. They were joined by figures unknown outside Israel but well grounded in the local ethos, such as Yigal Allon and Yitzhak Sadeh. These military
men co-mingled with what nowadays we would call the ‘Orientalists’: experts on the Arab world at large and the Palestinians in particular, either because they themselves came from
Arab countries or because they were scholars in the field of Middle Eastern studies. We will encounter some of their names later on as well.
Both the officers and the experts were assisted by regional commanders, such as Moshe Kalman, who cleansed the Safad area, and Moshe Carmel, who uprooted most of the Galilee.
Yitzhak Rabin operated both in Lydd and Ramla as well as in the Greater Jerusalem area. Remember their names, but begin to think of them not just as Israeli war heroes. They did take part in founding a state for Jews, and many of their actions are understandably revered by their own people for helping to save them from outside attacks, seeing them through crises, and above all offering them a safe haven from religious persecution in different parts of the world. But history will judge how these achievements will ultimately weigh in the balance when the opposite scale holds the crimes they committed against the indigenous people of
Palestine. Other regional commanders included Shimon Avidan, who cleansed the south and of whom his colleague, Rehavam Zeevi, who fought with him, said many years later, Commanders
like Shimon Avidan, the commander of the Givati Brigade, cleansed his front from tens of villages and towns’.7 He was assisted by Yitzhak Pundak, who told Ha’aretz in 2004, ‘There
were two hundred villages [in the front] and these are gone. We had to destroy them, otherwise we would have had Arabs here [namely in the southern part of Palestine] as we have in Galilee. We would have had another million Palestinians’.8
And then there were the intelligence officers on the ground. Far from being mere collectors of data on the ‘enemy’, they not only played a major role in the cleansing but also took part in some of the worst atrocities that accompanied the systematic dispossession of the Palestinians. They were given the final authority to decide which villages would be destroyed and who among the villagers would be executed.9 In the memories of Palestinian survivors they were the ones who, after a village or neighbourhood had been occupied, decided the fate of its occupants, which could mean the difference between imprisonment and freedom, or life and death.
Their operations in 1948 were supervised by Issar Harel, later the first person to head the Mossad and the Shabak, Israel’s secret services. His image is familiar to many Israelis. A short bulky figure, Harel had the modest rank of colonel in 1948, but was nonetheless the most senior officer overseeing all the operations of interrogation, blacklisting and the other oppressive features of Palestinian life under the Israeli occupation.
Finally, it bears repeating that from whatever angle you look at it – the legal, the scholarly, and up to the most populist – ethnic cleansing is indisputably identified today as a crime against
humanity and as involving war crimes, with special international tribunals judging those indicted of having planned and executed acts of ethnic cleansing. However, I should now add that, in hindsight, we might think of applying – and, quite frankly, for peace to have a chance in Palestine we ought to apply – a rule of obsolescence in this case, but on one condition: that the one political solution normally regarded as essential for reconciliation by both the United States and the United Nations is enforced here too, namely the unconditional return of the refugees to their homes.
The US supported such a UN decision for Palestine, that of 11 December 1948 (Resolution 94), for a short – all too short –while. By the spring of 1949 American policy had already been
reoriented onto a conspicuously pro-Israeli track, turning Washington’s mediators into the opposite of honest brokers as they largely ignored the Palestinian point of view in general, and
disregarded in particular the Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
RECONSTRUCTING AN ETHNIC CLEANSING
By adhering to the definition of ethnic cleansing as given above, we absolve ourselves from the need to go deeply into the origins of Zionism as the ideological cause of the ethnic cleansing. Not that the subject is not important, but it has been dealt with successfully by a number of Palestinian and Israeli scholars such as Walid Khalidi, Nur Masalha, Gershon Shafir and Baruch Kimmerling, among others.10 Although I would like to focus on the immediate
background preceding the operations, it would be valuable for readers to recap the major arguments of these scholars.
A good book to begin with is Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians,11 which shows clearly how deeply rooted the concept of transfer was, and is, in Zionist political thought. From
the founder of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, to the main leaders of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine, cleansing the land was a valid option. As one of the movement’s most liberal thinkers, Leo Motzkin, put it in 1917:
Our thought is that the colonization of Palestine has to go in two directions: Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is nonetheless practical. It does not require too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land.12
The fact that the expellers were newcomers to the country, and part of a colonization project, relates the case of Palestine to the colonialist history of ethnic cleansing in North and South America, Africa and Australia, where white settlers routinely committed such
crimes. This intriguing aspect of the historical instance Israel offers was the subject of several recent and excellent studies. Gershon Shafir and Baruch Kimmerling informed us about the connection between Zionism and Colonialism, a nexus that can bring us at first to exploitation rather than expulsion, but once the idea of an exclusive Jewish economy became a central part of the vision, there was no room for Arab workers or peasants.13 Walid Khalidi and Samih Farsoun connected the centrality of the transfer ideology more closely to the end of the mandate, and they ask why the UN entrusted the fate of so many Palestinians to a movement
that had clearly included transfer in its ideology.14
I will seek less to expose the ideological inclination of those involved than to highlight the systematic planning with which they turned an ethnically mixed area into a pure ethnic space. This is the purpose of my opening chapters. I will return to the ideological connection towards the end of the book when I analyze it as the only adequate explanation we have for the ethnic cleansing by Israel of the Palestinians that started in 1948 but continues, in a variety of means, to today.
A second, more unpleasant task will be to reconstruct the methods Israel used for executing its master plan of expulsion and destruction, and examine how and to what extent these were
typically affiliated with acts of ethnic cleansing. As I argued above, it seems to me that, had we never heard of the events in the former Yugoslavia but had been aware only of the case of Palestine, we would be forgiven for thinking that the US and UN definitions were inspired by the Nakba, down to almost their last minute detail.
Before we delve into the history of the ethnic cleansing in Palestine and try to contemplate the implications it has had up to the present day, we should pause for a moment and think about
relative numbers. The figure of three-quarters of a million uprooted Palestinians can seem to be ‘modest’ when set in the context of the transfer of millions of people in Europe that was an outcome of the Second World War, or the dispossessions occurring in Africa in the beginning of the twenty-first century. But sometimes one needs to relativise numbers and think in percentages to begin to understand the magnitude of a tragedy that engulfed the population
of an entire country. Half of the indigenous people living in Palestine were driven out, half of their villages and towns were destroyed, and only very few among them ever managed to return.
But beyond numbers, it is the deep chasm between reality and representation that is most bewildering in the case of Palestine. It is indeed hard to understand, and for that matter to explain, why a crime that was perpetrated in modern times and at a juncture in history that called for foreign reporters and UN observers to be present, should have been so totally ignored. And yet, there is no denying that the ethnic cleansing of 1948 has been eradicated
almost totally from the collective global memory and erased from the world’s conscience. magine that not so long ago, in any given country you are familiar with, half of the entire population had been forcibly expelled within a year, half of its villages and towns wiped out, leaving behind only rubble and stones. Imagine now the possibility that somehow this act will never make it into the history books and that all diplomatic efforts to solve the conflict that
erupted in that country will totally sideline, if not ignore, this catastrophic event. I, for one, have searched in vain through the history of the world as we know it in the aftermath of the Second World War for a case of this nature and a fate of this kind. There are other, earlier, cases that have fared similarly, such as the ethnic cleansing of the non-Hungarians at the end of the nineteenth century, the genocide of the Armenians, and the holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi occupation against travelling people (the Roma, also known as Sinti) in the 1940s. I hope in the future that Palestine will no longer be included in this list.