by Boaventura de Sousa Santos
Yet another ceasefire like so many others before it, in Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine; yet another death count for the archives of oblivion; yet another occasion to ease the conscience of the international community, especially in North America and Europe; yet another period for trivializing the daily humiliation of those who are forced to cross Israeli checkpoints in order to go to work; yet another process of rising provocations until the next bombings; yet another surge in ethnic cleansing by a violent colonial power.
In fact, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began in early December 1947 with a series of Zionist militia attacks on Palestinian villages and neighbourhoods. As a result, about 300.000 Palestinians were uprooted by Zionist militia before a single Arab soldier put foot in Palestine. For example, Deir Yassin was a small village west of Jerusalem. The village had a non-aggression pact signed with the Haganah. However, on the night of 9 April 1948, Zionist forces attacked the village and killed more than 100 innocent Palestinian civilians (among them 30 babies). Four nearby villages were next – Qalunya, Saris, Beit Surik and Biddu where Hagana militia blew up houses and expelled the people (in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe, Oxford, Oneworld, 2006. P. 90-91). At the onset of his book, Pappé uses as epigraph David Ben-Gurion’s outrageous recommendation (indeed, not his alone) to the Jewish Agency Executive in June 1938. Wrote Ben-Gurion, who ten years later would become the first Prime Minister of the newly created State of Israel: “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.”
This is a well-known story.