Originally published in the Winter/Spring 2023 edition of the Virginia Defender, issue 71, printed March 22. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in the Winter/Spring 2023 issue or to download the full PDF, see this post. For other issues dating back to 2012, see the Full Issues page.

By Dr. Ali Jawhar

Let me state right from the outset that the main conflict in the Middle East is not between Arabs and Jews, but rather between Palestinians and Zionists.

The Zionist entity that is called “Israel” is the most racist state on the face of the earth today. The evidence to support this is overwhelming. Since its inception in 1948, with the support of colonialist Britain, the Zionist entity has treated all non-Jews as second- and third-class citizens, or less.

By the time of its establishment or soon afterwards, the Zionist “Israeli” government had destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages, committed over 50 massacres and expelled nearly a million people. Many of these people sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Others were scattered to refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. To this day, 75 years later, those people continue to languish in squalid camps that fail to provide them with protection from hot or cold weather. This is not to mention the horrific conditions they live in in general.

After seizing the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, “Israel” continued its horrendous practices against the defenseless Palestinians with the obvious aim of forcing them off their land. Hardly a day passes without “Israel” demolishing Palestinian homes, stealing their olive harvest, uprooting trees, arresting people without charges, and killing people in cold blood.

The most common means the Zionists use to seize Palestinian land is to first declare it a “military zone,” and thus prevent its owners from using it. Within a short period after that, the occupation authorities take it over officially, under the pretext that its owners failed to use it. Of course, the Israelis were the reason for not using it in the first place. There are other illegal means which the Israelis employ to steal Palestinian land, but this article is too brief to enumerate them.

Another inhuman aspect of the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the demolition of Palestinian homes. There are 60,000 to 70,000 homes that are threatened with destruction because they were built without permits, which are generally denied to Palestinians anyway. According to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition, over 55,000 Palestinian structures were razed as of 2022.

Israeli racism permeates every aspect of Palestinian lives. There are more than 60 Israeli laws which discriminate against the Palestinians who survived the expulsions. Those laws cover all facets of life, including health, housing, jobs and education. To top everything else, in 2018 Israel passed Basic-Law: Israel – The Nation State of the Jewish People, which states that “the right to exercise self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.” To me, this is the epitome of racism.

The most vital question is how do we end the Palestinian-Zionist struggle in a just and peaceful way? A number of proposals have been advanced over the last 75 years, but without any success. Division of Palestine by the United Nations was simply abysmal and so unjust from the very beginning. The two-state solution which was alluded to following the ‘67 war and the Oslo Accords of 1993 was also unjust and unworkable because that would have rewarded the Zionist entity by legitimizing it over 78 percent of the land.

I, and many others, both Arabs and Jews, strongly believe that a secular, democratic state in all of historic Palestine is the only just solution to this festering and painful dilemma, which if left unsolved could spark a regional war or even a wider conflict.

To be complete, the solution must include the right of return to the Palestinian refugees. Israel’s obstinacy to even consider this just solution stems from its vise grip on U.S. policy in the Middle East. It is no secret that nearly all Congress members in both houses fear the Israel Lobby, AIPAC and other Zionist organizations and thus submit to Israel’s wishes even when they know that that is not in U.S. interests. Those who do not toe the Israeli line are forced to “correct” themselves or risk getting the ax in the next election.

I suggest a couple of excellent books to see the scope and depth of the Zionist Lobby’s influence in Washington, D.C. One book is “The Zionist Connection,” by Alfred Lilienthal, and the second is “They Dare to Speak out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby,” by Paul Findly.

The Zionists are definitely mistaken if they believe that the Palestinians will surrender and give up their right to their homeland or their freedom. The Israelis have two choices before them: one, to continue their oppressive, apartheid policies with the Palestinians and thus ensure continued war for the foreseeable future until they are eventually defeated; and two, to abandon the racist philosophy of Zionism and join forces with Palestinians to establish a secular, democratic state in all of historic Palestine without discrimination against anyone on the basis of religion, color, gender or ethnicity.

I genuinely hope that our historical cousins opt for the second choice, because then and only then will they and us be able to live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Dr. Ali Jawhar is “an American of Palestinian heritage. I spent most of my adult life teaching in Virginia. I am presently dividing my time between the U.S. and Palestine and yearn to see peace in the world.”

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