The Iron Wall
An Ideology of Total Negation
When Sharon launched his so-called Separation or Segregation Wall, he chose his words very carefully. He used an innocently appealing slogan: "Good walls make good neighbours". He chose an innocently fitting name for the Wall: "The Separation Fence", and chose the right opportunity to launch it. The location and extent of the Wall and its execution were made step by step depending upon the arrival of the right opportunity. All this fits neatly within the framework of the implementation of an ideology inherited by Sharon and his predecessors and successors of the Zionist movement for the achievement of the main object of the movement: the total colonization of the land of Palestine totally free from the presence of its indigenous population. An understanding of this ideology and the process of its implementation are essential for evaluating the significance of the construction of this 'Separation' Wall. To look at the Wall in isolation of this ideology, or in segments, as advocated by the Israeli Supreme Court in decisions to be considered later in this article, is like picking a single tree in a huge forest to judge the extent and significance of the whole forest. The construction of the Wall was dictated by this ideology, which is a political decision, and may not be addressed solely and exclusively from the perspective of its legality. The same considerations apply to the second wall referred to in this article, the Western or Wailing Wall.
In the twenty first century, Israeli leaders and their supporters seem to be dominated by and obsessed with sixteenth century European ideology of settler colonialism, nourished by Biblical myths of plundering. The slogan: "give the land without a people to a people without a land", was raised by Zionism to justify the colonization of Palestine, although it was fully known to Zionist leaders that Palestine was not a land without a people, and that the people of that country, the Palestinians, will resist the colonization of their country.(1) The separation, apartheid, security wall, barrier or fence, call it what you may, is an integral part of this process of projected colonization in its 16" century formula and Old Biblical mythology of either total submission to the process by the indigenous population or extermination, if they persist in resisting the process. One main feature of this type of colonialism is the firm assumption that the indigenous populations have no sacred or inalienable rights and their lives, land, properties, culture and traditions, indeed their destiny on this earth, are at the mercy of the occupier to suffer, allow, restrict, change or expropriate. Those allowed to continue in existence are reduced to a total dependency on the occupier and deemed 'surplus' to humanity 'disposable' at the will of the occupier. The prime example of the application of this ideology is the fate of the indigenous people of North and Latin America and Australia, and the fate of the Palestinians at the hands of the Hebrew tribes, according to the mythical history in the Bible. And, indeed, these are the examples given by Jabotinsky in expounding the Zionist ideology for the colonization of Palestine.
Vladimir Jabotinsky, the Zionist Russian leader, succinctly formulated this ideology in an article first published in Russian on 4 November 1923, and in English on 26 November 1937 under the title "The Iron Wall (We and the Arabs)."(2) It is important to note that the original Russian version was published long before Hitler came to power and his racist policies, and the holocaust, but after the grant to Britain of the mandate over Palestine in 1922, and the incorporation therein of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The English version was published years before the holocaust and the Second World War, but after it became apparent that the indigenous population of Palestine arc determined, through successive revolts, to resist the attempted colonization of their country, and it was the time to reiterate, in a concise form, the ideology and the way to achieve its objective. Zionist leaders and successive Israeli governments, of whatever political colour, have pursued policies and set plans and seized on opportunities to achieve the objective set out by this ideology, and the Palestinian reaction has been as foretold by Jabotin sky.(3)
Jabotinsky starts his article by a denial: he declares that it is not true that he was an enemy of the Arabs and "a proponent of their expulsion etc." from Palestine. His "emotional relationship to the Arabs is the same as it is to all other peoples - polite indifference" This 'polite indifference to all other peoples' is, of course, reserved to Jabotinsky and his followers, and utterly unacceptable from other peoples to them. As will be shown later, he wants the British Government to be actively engaged in promoting his scheme, rather than be indifferent to it.
"There will always be," he declares, "two peoples in Palestine -which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority ... we will never attempt to expel or oppress the Arabs." This is indeed great generosity, but will happen should the Arabs react in the way predicted by him! The answer was deducted by his followers: expulsion, ethnic cleansing and oppression of those who remain as a minority. The aim is to become the majority and overlords. This, of necessity, will mean the transformation of the Arabs of Palestine who were the vast majority in 1923 as in 1948, when Israel was created, into a minority. According to Jabotinsky, the way that this objective can be achieved depended entirely on the relationship of the Arabs to Zionism. If they accept it, with its objective, the transformation will be peaceful, otherwise it will not. This admission on the part of Jabotinsky that there were Arabs in Palestine at least in 1923, who made the majority of its population, confirms the deceptive behaviour of the Zionist movement and its leaders in raising the slogan "give the land without a people to a people without a land", and characterizes Israeli policies, undertakings and statements, and yet the Israeli Supreme Court wants to accept at face value the assertions of the government of Israel that the Separation Wall is of a temporary nature, not constructed for political reasons and does not mark boundaries, and the similar assertion by the security forces that the only objective of the Wall was security. The Court shifted its position from self-defence when it discovered that it was ridiculous to build a huge Wall of the specifications it has to defend against primitive attacks by individual Palestinians. Self-defence is thrown away for future consideration by the Court, and a substitute argument, which docs not hold water, was discovered, to the obvious pleasure of the Court. Nevertheless both the slogan and the reality of Palestine in the scheming minds of the likes of Jabotinsky have remained. The slogan has also remained to deceive the innocent or ignorant.
Jabotinsky, the colonialist, knew that, historically, it has never happened that indigenous peoples have ever surrendered willingly their homeland to foreign invaders. He says: "That the Arabs of the Land of Israel [sic] should willingly come to an agreement with us is I beyond ail hopes and dreams at present, and in the foreseeable future ... Apart from those who have been virtually "blind" since childhood, all the other moderate Zionists have long since understood that there is not even the slightest hope of ever obtaining the agreement of the Arabs of the Land of Israel to "Palestine" becoming a country with a Jewish majority. "And why is that? Because, Jabotinsky writes, "Every reader has some idea of the early history of other countries which have been settled [i.e. colonized/." Jabotinsky gave the examples of the Spaniards who conquered Mexico and Peru and "our own ancestors in the days ofJushua ben Nun" both of whom "behaved, one might say, like plunderers", the examples of the English, Scots and the Dutch, "the first real pioneers of North America". In all these cases, Jabotinsky writes, "The inhabitants fought the white settlers not out of fear that they might be expropriated, but simply because there has never been an indigenous inhabitant anywhere or at any time who has ever accepted the settlement of others in his country. Any native people - its all the same whether they are civilized or savages - views their country as their national home, of which they will always be the complete masters. They will not voluntarily allow, not only a new master, but even a new partner. And so it is for the Arabs... Every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of "Palestine" into the "Land of Israel". Colonization itself has its own explanation, integral and inescapable, and understood by every Arab and every Jew with his wits about him. Colonization can have only one goal. For the Palestinian Arabs this goal is inadmissible. This is in the nature of things. To change that nature is impossible."
The quotation is long; but this is necessary in order to understand the nature of the Zionist project and the anticipated certain reaction to it. Jabotinsky was honest to admit that the Zionist project was settler colonialism, like that of the Spaniards, the English, the Dutch and the Hebrew tribes of old. None of them could claim any connection, historical or otherwise, with the land they wanted to settle in and colonise. The aim was to settle and colonise, to control and be masters of the land. So is the case with the Zionist project for Palestine, he admits. He further does not claim that the Jews were or are the indigenous people of Palestine. It is the Arabs of Palestine who are the indigenous people, and who, like all other people, will resist the colonization of their country until all hope is lost. This resistance is in the nature of things and is understandable and cannot be changed. This is the basis of the legality of resistance to foreign occupation; it is in the nature of things, as Jabotinsky admits.
Jabotinsky considers the various peaceful possibilities and concludes that the Zionists "cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel [sic] or the Arab countries." Since Palestine "would still remain for the Palestinians not a borderland, but their birthplace, the center of their own national existence, therefore it would be necessary to carry on colonization against the will of the Palestinian Arabs, which is the same condition that exists now[m 1923]... Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. " The way to do that is declared: "This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population -an Iron Wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy." The support for this 'Iron Wall', defined later by Jabotinsky, was first Britain, now the United States and Europe, and, at one time it was Germany, thanks to the Zionist leaders who continued to cooperate with Nazi Germany to the end. They cannot be allowed to act with "polite indifference".
Jabotinsky then deals with the morality of this. "If anyone objects that this point of view is immoral, I answer: It is not true; either Zionism is moral and just or it is immoral and unjust. ... We hold that Zionism is moral and just. And since it is moral and just, justice must be done...There is no other morality." And the just and moral thing to do is to colonise Palestine even in defiance of its indigenous population and reduce its Arab majority to a helpless minority that cannot defy this colonization. The only morality is that of Zionism; and no question arises as to the morality or justice of what Zionism may do to achieve its objective. The indigenous population has no rights in its own homeland. All these rights are at the disposal of the Zionist colonizer to deny, reduce, eliminate, and be always subject to the whim of the colonizer.
It is important to note that Jabotinsky does not raise a historical, religious or legal claim to Palestine as against its indigenous people. His basis is "justice" and belief that Zionism is both "moral and just". He offers no explanation for this Zionist contention. It is an assertion that must be accepted at face value 'because I say so'. Jabotinsky and most of leaders of the Zionist movement were, and still are. East Europeans who are of Khazar origin. Shiomo Sand of Tel Aviv University, author of When and How was the Jewish People Invented, confirms the view held by many that genesis of the Ashkenazi Jews of central and eastern Europe originated with the mass conversion to Judaism of the people of the Khazar kingdom in what is to-day south Russia. Consequently, they cannot claim to be descendants of the old Hebrew tribes of Palestine. In fact he says "Most of the early Zionist leaders, including David Ben Gur'ion, believed that the Palestinians were the descendants of the area's original Jews. They believed the Jews had later converted to Islam. "^Needless to say that some of the Palestinians of today may be descendants of Jews who converted to Islam (and I personally know a family in Jerusalem reputed to be such) or of Jews who remained in the country but did not convert (like the Samara of the city of Nablus), as well as all peoples who settled in Palestine for centuries before and after the arrival of the Hebrew tribes. Dr. Sand found no evidence of the Exile by the Romans in 70 A.D., and that he discovered that the kingdoms of David and Solomon were legends.(4)
Jabotinsky continues: "All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible. As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered. But still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left." Is it unreasonable to interpret this as a call for the extermination of the Palestinians from existence if they were to defy Zionist justice and morality? Was not this the ethnic cleansing and more that Zionist Israel has done and still doing because the 'living' Palestinians refuse to make the 'enormous concessions on such fateful questions' as the Zionists-Israelis demand of them? Is this not the holocaust threatened recently by the Israeli Deputy Defence Minister in operations against the Palestinians of Gaza? Are not the present total siege of Palestinians in Gaza and the total dependence of Palestinians in the West Bank on Israel and international charity instruments of oppression used by Israel to produce conditions under which involuntary agreement becomes possible? Are not the 'Separation' Wall, road blocks, military raids, day and night, the unlawful detention of thousands of Palestinians, the harassments by settlers means to produce this result since voluntary agreement is impossible, as admitted by Jabotinsky?
How will the Palestinians lose every spark of hope? "Only when not a single breach is visible in the Iron Wall, only then do extreme groups, with their "Never", lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals/or mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy." "But the only path to such an agreement, "concludes Jabotinsky, "is the Iron Wall, that is to say the strengthening in Palestine of a government without any kind of Arab influence, that is to say one against which the Arabs will fight. In other words, for us the only path to an agreement in the future is an absolute refusal of any attempts at an agreement now. "These are the last words of the article.
The extremist groups among the Palestinians are, to Jabotinsky, those who say "Never" to the colonization of their homeland by the Zionist colonizers. They are the people who refuse to make the "enormous concessions on the fateful questions" that the Zionist project demands of the Palestinians. The "moderates" are those who will agree to make such concessions in return for "assurances", not commitments, for example against "expulsion" from their country, but on condition that they will have no kind of any influence in the government of Palestine, their country. Those moderates who might become exempt from expulsion must be satisfied with the fact of remaining in the country but without any say in its government. However, in no event an agreement is to be concluded until the colonization of Palestine, the whole of Palestine, is achieved and there remains no spark of hope to get rid of the colonizer. Recognition of Israeli colonization of less than the whole of Palestine is not sufficient, as the PLO recognition has proved. "Negotiations" and the creation of more facts of colonization on the ground are only steps to achieve the total colonization of Palestine, after which the "moderates" may negotiate to get the "assurances".
Jabotinsky's plan for the colonization of Palestine with a Jewish majority and a possible helpless Palestinian minority of 'moderates', if such a minority is allowed to stay, has been carried out to the full in those parts of Palestine that have come to be called Israel. The construction of the Iron Wall was almost completed between 1947 and 1949, through massacres too many to count, destruction of homes and complete erasure of hundreds of Palestinian villages, the planned and systematic expulsion of Palestinians from the areas Israel was able to control in that period, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. This cleansing, with what accompanied it of massacres and organized killing of Palestinians of military age, defined by Israel as that between 10 and 50, has gone unpunished, and great criminals of this period, such as David Ben Gurion who master-minded the execution of this plan, and his generals, are treated as celebrated heroes instead of being condemned for the atrocities they had committed. I said 'almost completed' because there are still 'living' Palestinians who should be eliminated to secure that the wall is not breached. Palestinians living in refugee camps, inside and outside Israel, as well as Palestinian activists, have become targets for elimination according to Zionist justice and morality. The massacre committed at the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in 1982 in Lebanon, under an arrangement by and supervision of the occupying Israeli forces, who were, under international law and an American undertaking through American ambassador Phillip Habib, responsible for their protection and safety, is one of the most atrocious examples of intentional genocide. The then minister of defence, no other than Ariel Sharon, who was condemned for his 'indirect responsibility' for the massacre by the high-powered Kahan Israeli Commission of Inquiry, was not prosecuted or even investigated by the prosecuting authorities in Israel, and continued his political career to be rewarded with leading two political parties, one after the other, and end up as prime minister.
The other target was, and still is, the small minority of Palestinians inside that part of their homeland that became Israel. Although they have no influence on Israeli policies, (the camouflage of participation in elections is no guarantee of such influence) and, therefore unable to breach the Iron Wall, their natural demographic growth has become to be perceived as a threat to the 'purity' of Israel and its Jewish majority.
All Israeli political parties are now agreed on one solution: more ethnic cleansing under the name 'transfer'. The calls for recognition of Israel as a 'Jewish' state or 'state of the Jewish people' have their objective the completion of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from present day Israel, and one may be allowed to see Hie start of the spark in the events of October 2008 in the mixed city of Acre when Jewish settlers of the city attacked the Arab quarter burning shops and houses. Also, within this target one should view the recent official ransacking in August of 2008 of the offices of the Al-Aqsa Society, and the open theft of all the records it has been collecting concerning Palestinian historical sites inside Israel. No trace should remain in the hands of the Palestinians of their Palestinian existence. The same was done when the offices of the Sharia courts in Jerusalem were ransacked after the city's occupation in 1967 and the library of the Palestine Research Institute in Beirut in 1982.
It is within the logic of this ideology that one should always view the declarations, policies and actions of Israel, including actions pertaining to the Western or Wailing Wall and the construction of the 'Separation' Wall. Jabotinsky's statement of this ideology has been partly implemented as facts on the grounds, no matter to any contrary assertions, now and then, by Israeli governments, including commitments to the United Nations itself. As we shall sec later, the Israeli Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of facts for the arrival at the correct conclusions. There are, as well, other ideological "considerations pronounced by Jabotinsky and stuck to by the various Israeli governments, which are relevant. A review of the judgements of Israeli courts, including the Supreme Court, hardly leaves any serious doubt that these judgements are reflections of this ideology.
1. For a comprehensive study see Alan Hart's two volume analysis Zionism The Real Enemy of the Jews, publisher World Focus Publishing, Kent, England (2005 and 2007), and llan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, first published by Oneworld Publications Limited, Oxford, England, first published in 2006. On legal aspects, see Victor Kattan From Coexistence to Conquest: International Law and the Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1891-1949 (London Pluto Books, 2009).
2. See 51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis, ed. Lenni Brenner, Barricade Books, Fort Lee. New Jersey, (2002) p 32, and can be seen at the internet by searching for its title.
3. One of the latest examples is a circular by the Minister of Defence, Ihud Barak, to Israeli universities not to enroll Palestinian students in science faculties. Some universities objected, but, as of writing, the question remains.
4. Quoted from an article by Jonathan Cook "Israel's Surprising Best Seller Contradicts Founding Ideology," www.Arabmediawatch.com October 2008. All references to this book are to Mr Cook's article. Mr Cook states that the book will be translated into Arabic and English and the author expects a rough ride when the English publisher Verso launches the book in America next year.