The Great Unmasking

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Photo by Marina Zaharkina on Unsplash

By Jonathan Kuttab | Jan 7, 2023 | Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)

When Israel determined it wanted to be a Jewish state, and further that it wanted to keep all the land of historic Palestine, the results were inevitable.

The new Israeli government started off with a bang, as Benjamin Netanyahu announced the principles that would govern it. First, and foremost, was the principle that Jews have an “exclusive and unquestionable right to all the land of Israel, including the Galilee, the Negev, Judaea and Samaria, and the Golan.” Following the “Nation-State Law” of 2018, he was articulating a view of Zionism and the State of Israel that is openly, frankly, and unabashedly racist and discriminatory, a view that totally rejects any possibility of equality or compromise with the Palestinian Arab population who compose half of the souls living between the the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Other, more extremist members of his government chimed in reminding us that they, and not him, control the government. Itamar Ben Gvir took on the Ministry of Public Security (the police) and immediately staged a provocative visit to the Haram Al Sharif, contrary to his instructions and the warnings of the entire world, particularly his friends in the US, Jordan, the UAE, and elsewhere.

While these actions and words rattled many liberal Zionists and apologists for the state of Israel, Palestinians were far more sanguine. They had just concluded a year that saw the most casualties in decades and a record number of administrative detainees (830). They had seen an expansion of settlements, land expropriations, house demolitions, settler violence with impunity, continued ethnic cleansing in Masafer Yatta, and a constant, creeping annexation that may not always be “officially sanctioned” but is always retroactively recognized and “legalized.” All of this took place under the auspices of the “change government,” a government that was supposedly centrist (and which even allowed token Arab representation). While Palestinians are rightly apprehensive at the open legitimacy given to these actions by the new government, they are hardly surprised or outraged. They have already experienced the true face of Zionism and are now almost relieved to have it openly admitted and universally recognized for what it is.

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