Zionist “Settler Colonialism” yields unrelenting takeover of Palestinian land
Applying the term settler colonialism to Israeli (and US) history has become increasingly common. It is the “settler” component that really distinguishes the concept from exploitation colonialism, the practice of acquiring full or partial political control over another country and exploiting it economically.
Walter L. Hixson (distinguished professor of history at the University of Akron and the author of nine books on American history) says “Settlers … come to stay in a new land, rather than merely to exploit its natural resources and native labor for short-term profit. Settlers cultivate racial, religious and nationalist frameworks that serve to justify the takeover of lands on which other people already live. They assume new identities as chosen peoples who believe they are destined or divinely sanctioned to inherit a new land, which they sometimes even depict as an uninhabited “wilderness” or “virgin land.” Read Article.
Hixson explains that in settler colonialism, the goal is for settlers to remove the indigenous people and establish their own sovereignty in the land. This requires mass migration. Indigenous people do not give up their historic homeland without a struggle. Thus settler societies choose violent solutions that may include: ethnic cleansing, terrorism, massacres, warfare, collective punishment, imprisonment and torture as matters of policy both before and after the state is established. In so doing, settler societies disregard established norms and the U.N. exhibiting willful defiance of international law in pursuit of annexing more land.
For a comprehensive history of the Zionist settler movement in Palestine from the inception of political Zionism to the present time read “The Nakba, 65 Years of Dispossession and Apartheid” published May 8, 2013. Here are a few of the most crucial events/developments:
1878 – First Zionist agricultural colony in Palestine (Petah Tikva). 1896 Der Judenstaat, a book advocating the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine whose author is Theodor Herzl.
1904-1914 – 40,000 Zionist immigrants arrive in Palestine (6% of the population). 1917 Balfour Declaration; British Foreign Secretary pledges support for “a Jewish National home in Palestine”.
1919 – First Palestinian National Congress rejects Balfour declaration and demands independence.
1919-1933 – 35,000 Zionists immigrate to Palestine. Jews now total 12% of the population and hold 3% of the land.
1920 – Founding of Hagana, Zionist underground military organization. 1922 League of Nations Council approves Britain’s Mandate for Palestine (incorporating the Balfour Declaration verbatim in its preamble.). 1931 – Irgun founded to support more militancy against Arabs. 1935 Arms smuggling by Zionist groups discovered at Jaffa port. 1936-1939 British crushed Arab revolt in 1939 with help of Zionist militia. 1937 Peel Commission urges partition of Palestine; 33% to be a Jewish State. 1947 UN adopts Resolution 181 on partition of Palestine.
1948 – War breaks out between Jews and Arabs. Hagana captures Palestinian villages; massacre at Deir Yassin; Hagana expels Palestinians from villages, Haifa and Jaffa coastal areas; 85% of the Palestinians were displaced before, during and after the fighting and not allowed to return; over 500 villages were destroyed; Israel gained control over 77% of Palestine. Israel declares independence; President Truman recognizes ` State of Israel; U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 supports right of `Palestinian refugees to regain their homes if they so desire or to receive compensation if they choose not to return.
1967 – The Six-Day War begins when Israel attacks Egypt; Israel occupies the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem; 500,000 more Palestinians are displaced. U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 calls for withdrawal of Israeli troops from territories newly occupied.
Since 1967, Israel has ruled by military law over millions of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, granting them no political or civil rights. Settlers continue to colonize Palestinian land with Jewish-only settlements in violation of international law.
At the end of his article, Hixson reflects on how the settler colonial concept can help us grasp …” Israel’s core identity, the aggression and the contempt for international authority that are hard-wired into the Zionist state. Settler colonialism also helps us understand American support for Israel’s repressive behavior, as we have been there, done that”.