Defend the Oppressed! Down with the Curfews on the Palestinian Citizens of Israel!
By Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel / Occupied Palestine), 13 May 2021
While Netanyahu planned to divide the “Anti-Bibi” bloc and for this he ignited the events, he did not expect that the outcome would be such a disaster for the Zionist state. So far, the Palestinians have won in this conflict. The Israeli army does what it knows best – kill children in Gaza while Hamas and the Islamic Jihad retaliate with rockets that reach every corner of Israel including Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv and even paralyzed Ben Gurion airport. The government of Israel may plan an invasion of Gaza, but invasion of Gaza will cost Israel a very heavy price and the longer they will stay in Gaza the price will be higher.
At the same time, the liberal Zionists who have advocated the “anyone but Bibi” and hoped to ride on the votes of the Arab Palestinians and get their support for a right-wing block that oppose Netanyahu, are in shock. They, who believed that they offer a great generous idea that the Palestinians citizens of Israel should happily accept their position as second-class citizens and turn their back on the Palestinian in Jerusalem the West Bank and Gaza, feel betrayed. They are suffering as they have realized that close relations between the Israeli Jews and the oppressed Palestinians (“the Arabs of 1948“) based on discrimination is no more than an illusion. Now after Mertz stated that they will join a right-wing racist government they are very disappointed and angry at the Arabs for shattering this illusion. How dare the Arabs of Israel stand with their Palestinian brother and sisters rather than with the liberal Zionists!? They think and tell the Palestinians to go back stop resisting save our common home even when we live on the second floor and you live in the basement.
Indeed, we can expect that now they will remove their masks and appear in their real naked nature as common right-wing racists unless Israel will be badly defeated and most of these liberals will escape the country.
When Jews suffered from pogrom in Russia the Russian working class came with weapons in their hands to defend the Jews from the Black Hundreds” That correct policy pushed many Jews to be on the side of the socialist revolution. Jews said:” better red than dead“.
Unlike the Russian workers these liberal Zionists did not come to defend the Palestinians when hundreds of far-right demonstrators attacked Arabs in April in Jerusalem Jaffa and other places. Even the Jerusalem Post, a right-wing newspaper wrote: .” It appears that a dry-run for the current clashes took place in late April in Jerusalem after a series of attacks on Orthodox Jews were filmed and posted on Tik Tok by Arabs. This led to a far-right demonstration on April 22. The hundreds of demonstrators who turned out were kept away from clashes with Arabs by the Israeli police. This followed two nights of low level attacks and clashes. However, the message of April 22 was largely lost on the public. On April 19, similar clashes in Jaffa had taken place and several had been injured. Yet the chaos in Jaffa also went largely unnoticed. All of this meant that many communities were waiting for a spark to erupt on May 11 and May 12. That spark came with the end of Ramadan and the al-Aqsa mosque incidents where Israeli police were seen in the mosque dispersing protesters on May 10 and 11.“ (1)
Following the high tensions in Jerusalem and the physical battles between the Moslem worshipers and the Zionist Police on the Haram esh-Sharif, large numbers of Arab Palestinians citizens of Israel have joined the struggle against the Zionist apartheid state on a scale we did not see even in 2000. As result the tension in Arab-Jewish towns where most Jews support the repression of the Palestinians has risen as Israel conducted air strikes in Gaza and Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel. They include residents in what was known prior to 1948 as Lydda and today as Lod.
Zionist Terror in Lydda in 1948-49
In 1948 the Haganah and IZL (the right-wing Zionist terrorists) forces attacked Lydda from the East and North.. During the attack on the city, the Zionists used fighter bombers for the first time to bomb the city and the nearby airport. Soon after the city’s occupation, the Zionist army committed its biggest massacre in Palestine, which resulted in the murder of 426 men, women, and children. At least, 176 of these people were slaughtered in Dahmash mosque, which functioned as the city’s main mosque.
This massacre was part of the 1948 Palestinian expulsion from Lydda and Ramle, also known as the Lydda Death March. 50,000–70,000 Palestinian Arabs were forced to walk to Jordan. Out of the 19,000 people who used to live in al-Lydd, only 1,052 were allowed to stay.
Yitzhak Rabin, a Zionist criminal and Noble Prize winner, has written in his diary soon after Lydda’s and Ramla’s occupation: “After attacking Lydda [later called Lod] Ben-Gurion would repeat the question: What is to be done with the population?, waving his hand in a gesture which said: Drive them out! ‘Driving out’ is a term with a harsh ring, …. Psychologically, this was on of the most difficult actions we undertook.” (2)
Ari Shavit, a Zionist reporter, wrote in his book “My Promised Land” that at high noon, more than 200 civilians are killed. Since then, the Palestinians who remained in Lod are systematically discriminated in building, education and employment.
The term `mixed cities’ is widely used in Israel, describing an urban situation in which Jewish and Arab communities occupy the same urban jurisdiction. Lod is one of them. Such terminology, which raises images of integration and mutual membership is misleading. It has resulted from a historical process during which the Israeli territory, including previously Arab cities, has been profoundly Judaized. In this process, the Palestinian community remaining in Israel after the 1948 war has become a marginalized and dispossessed minority.
It is more accurate to call these cities `ethnocratic cities’, which are subject to a persistent Israeli policy of deliberate Judaization, to Arab resistance, and are hence sites of constant ethnic conflict and instability. The Judaization strategy is at the heart of Israel’s racist regime. It has its roots in pre-1948 Jewish settlement methods, which attempted to create contiguous “blocks” and “chains” of segregated Jewish localities, mainly along the coastal plains and northern valleys. But the project swung into full force only after 1948, backed by the legal and planning apparatuses and the force of the state.
In April 1949, the military administration regime in Lod ended, but there was still a wide agreement concerning the necessity to control the Arab population in the city. Thus, every aspect of this population’s life was under surveillance including education, social services, and spatial planning. The Palestinian-Arabs in Lod were dominated by Jewish immigrants, who embodied the project of `demographic engineering’ by settling in the `abandoned’ Arab houses. In the first period after the war, Palestinian refugees tried to return to, and resettle in their vacant houses in Lod. The authority’s reaction included military acts against such `infiltration’ as well as a massive settlement of Zionist new immigrants in a process of internal colonization.
Discrimination in Lydda/Lod today
The racist spokesman for Lod stated: `Thank God! What really saved us demographically was the mass immigration of 15,000 or 16,000 new immigrants who arrived in Lod from the former USSR.” (3) Despite minor improvements, the policy towards the Arab citizens of Lod has not changed qualitatively over the years. They are still the `enemies’, subject to spatial and demographic oppression. In the last two decades a new flow of Jewish immigrants has arrived in Lod mainly from the former Soviet Union, who now form 25% of the city’s population. Two areas in Lod are dominated by Arabs: one block includes Pardess-Shanir the other Ramat-Eshkol.
Pardess-Shanir accommodates mainly land-owning Arab families. However, local planning policies prevent them from transferring the land from agricultural use to housing. Given the difficulties Arabs in Lod experience in residential mobility, this planning policy generated a widespread phenomenon of unauthorized dwelling construction. In Ramat Eshkol, the population is 70% Arab and 30% Jewish. The Jewish community is part of the process of the Judaization of the neighborhood.
The systematic discrimination is well documented. For example: “Kerem Al-Tufaah, an impoverished Arab neighborhood in the city of Lod, has only one public space – a neglected plot of land where local children come to play. Instead of correcting a historical wrong and finally creating a master plan for the neighborhood that uses the space to improve the residents’ quality of life, the Regional Planning Committee has approved the construction of a seven-story municipal police station on the lot. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), along with Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, filed a petition yesterday on behalf of local residents in the District Court for Administrative Matters in the Central District. The petition alleges that the Planning Committee failed to take into account the residents’ opposition or the social considerations associated with the building of a giant police station in the middle of the neighborhood, and did not adequately examine alternative sites for the station. (4)
And Attorney Auni Bana, Director of Arab Minority Rights Department at ACRI, said: “Throughout the process we have seen that local residents of Kerem Al-Tufaah are invisible to the authorities. In violation of the law, the authorities did not bother to inform them about the plan, casually rejected their objections and did even always bother to answer their inquiries. There is no justification – legal or moral – for the disparaging treatment and blatant discrimination against these residents in favor of Lod’s other residents, and it is impossible to ignore the clear national (ethnic) taint of this discrimination.” (5)
Alexander Jacob Shapiro, a liberal Zionist who lived for a while in Lod, wrote: “Furthering my doubts about cooperation was my experience on the ground in Lod, where I discovered a marginalized Arab community with scores of grievances against the Jewish majority, which is led by a right-wing Likud mayor and a prominent bloc of Jewish religious nationalists. I found that Lod’s Jewish and Arab populations are largely segregated and have little desire to integrate. I sat at Shabbat dinner with Lod’s Municipal CEO, Aaron Attias, who has once been quoted by saying that his goal is to emphasize Lod’s Jewish nature. (6)
New upscale neighborhoods have been expanding in the city, among them Ganei Ya’ar and Ahisemah. According to the Economist, a three-meter-high wall was erected in 2010 to separate Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, and limits have been imposed on Arab building, whereas construction in the Jewish areas is promoted. Some municipal services, such as street lighting and rubbish collection, are only provided to Jewish areas. (7) The synagogues and the Maoz yeshiva in Ramat Eshkol in Lod are forts of right-wing nationalists.
No wonder that during the course of the Palestinian protests throughout the city, the Maoz Yeshiva was firebombed, causing massive damage to one classroom and lesser damage to another, as well as superficial damage to the façade of the building. In addition, a synagogue was set on fire.
Around 200 Arab youth arrived to protest in solidarity with Palestinians in east Jerusalem. Many were seen throwing stones and bottles and launching fireworks at the police station, while also burning trash cans and tires. Musa Malakh Hassuna, a 33-year-old Palestinian Lod resident and father of three, was shot dead by a Jewish gunman on Hahashmonaim Street in Lod. Two more Palestinians were moderately injured in the incident, including a 20-year-old man.
Heavy clashes erupted after thousands of mourners joined the funeral for Malakh Hassuna killed on Tuesday. A synagogue, a Muslim cemetery and dozens of vehicles were set on fire, according to Israeli media reports.
Arutz 7, a voice of right-wing religious Zionism, acknowledged that the Palestinians of Lod attacked the racist Zionists. “A Religious Zionist community in central Israel was attacked by Arab rioters late Monday night, amid a wave of Arab violence across Israel. Dozens of Arab rioters mobbed the Religious Zionist ‘Garin Torani’ (core group of religious families who settle in low-income communities) of the central Israeli city of Lod overnight. Rioters hurled stones and firebombs at Jewish-owned buildings, while some in the mob removed an Israeli flag and replaced it with the Palestine Liberation Organization flag. Several Jewish residents opened fire on the rioters. One rioter was killed and another wounded. The fatally wounded rioter has been identified as Moussa Hassun.” (8)
For the Israeli government, the president and the Zionists of the Anti-Bibi coalition it is the time to speak of Anti-Jewish pogroms in preparation of setting the motion for Anti-Arab pogroms.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared a state of emergency in the city on Tuesday night as protesters threw rocks at police, who responded with stun grenades. He called for the Israeli military to restore order. “An intifada [uprising] erupted in Lod, you have to bring in the army.“ he said (9)
Minister of war Benny Gantz ordered the emergency call-up of 10 companies of Border Police to deploy them against the uprising.
Yair Lapid, the head of the Anti-Bibi block, who currently holds the mandate to form a new government, expressed support for Israeli security forces already on Saturday. (10) So have Lieberman, Benet and Shar – the leaders of his right-wing parties and partners. The same block which the heads of the Arab Jointed List recommended as a prime minister.
Rivlin, the Zionist president of Israel, condemns what he called ‘Pogrom’ by Israeli Arabs as Police Announce Curfew on Lod. (11) He also called on the Joined Arab list to calm the Arabs in Israel.
On the Facebook site of Hadash – the Stalinist front – we find the following: “We are very worried from the violent situation. We oppose all injuries to innocent civilians and call to drop all violence. We warned that Netanyahu will drug the entire region to stay in power. We support and encourage protest demonstrations of Arab and Jews against the occupation but we oppose the lynches the burning of houses of praying and any injury to Jews and Arabs.”
Thus, the Stalinists like in 1948 when they supported the creation and Israel once again shamefully put on the same level the oppressed and the oppressor, the violence of the oppressors against the oppressed!
To win the struggle it is important to set up elected action committees in every village and every district with a national elected leadership. Such committees should:
Organize self-defense against the police and the right-wing hooligans!
Break the siege on Gaza!
Fight for a red democratic Palestine from the river to the sea!
2) Y. Rabin: Soldier Of Peace, pp. 140-141
3) Interview with a Lod municipality spokesman (20 November 2000)
4) The Association for civil rights in Israel: Instead of a Park, Neglected Arab Neighborhood of Lod to Get a Massive Police Station, 16 Aug. 2012
6) Alexander Jacob Shapiro: Examining Newly-Formed Mixed Arab-Jewish Municipal Coalitions
7) Pulled Apart, The Economist. 14.10.2010
8) Aerutz seven: Arab rioters attack Religious Zionist community in Lod, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/305966
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We refer reader to a special sub-page on the RCIT website where we have compiled all our documents on the Fourth Gaza War: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/collection-of-articles-on-fourth-gaza-war/