Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Have the Occupied Palestinian Territories Become
the Native American Reservation of our Time?
By Ridwan Sheikh
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 23, 2012
Israel’s refusal to stop building illegal settlements in
occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is a poignant reminder the Palestinians
could share a fate similar to the indigenous American Indian people of the
According to the author, James W. Loewen, the U.S
government’s model of wiping out nearly 54 million  indigenous people,
with the remaining numbers relocated to desolate reservations, inspired
Adolf Hitler to do the same against the Jews.
“Hitler admired the
American concentration camps set up for Indians in the West and often
lauded them to his inner circle for the effectiveness of American aptitude
for promoting starvation and unequal combat, which inspired him for his
own extermination of Jews and Gypsies. [Romani people],” Loewen wrote.
Noam Chomsky, the political author and professor of linguistics at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT), believes today’s role
reversal of the Palestinians becoming the indigenous American Indian
people is merited, but up to a point.
“It’s bad enough, but not
that bad. The leading figures of the US conquests were quite explicit
about taking over everything, and ‘exterminating’-their word-anyone who
stood in the way. What we’d call ‘genocide’ if anyone else were to try
it,” Chomsky said.
By mid-2011, 131 illegal
settlements were in the region, housing 498,000 Israeli Jews, of which the
majority of settlements are on privately owned Palestinian land, not part
Israel occupies 77.5% of expropriated land, it
terms, “State land”. This demographic change took more than 50 years of
planning by the World Zionist organisation, a Jewish nationalist movement,
exploiting Judaism, to advance colonisation in Palestine for a Jewish
Integral to Israel’s land drive is an 8 metre concrete
wall enclosure that surrounds illegal settlements. The idea was suggested
in 1923, by the Polish Zionist, Vladimir Jabotinsky, founder of the Jewish
terrorist group, Irgun, in the Jewish Herald, stating: “This colonization
can develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local
population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break
Israel’s colonisation depends on exploiting natural
resources. The Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area have 37 illegal
settlements of 9,500 settlers and up to 56,000 Palestinians, yet Israel
pumps most of the water to its settlements, forcing the Arabs to ration
water supplies. When supplies end, families risk contamination from
polluted streams or make up the 67% forced to buy water in tanks from the
Mekorot Company, which is expensive. 
farmer’s, water shortages limit the variety of crops grown, affecting an
already crumbling economy, which Israel controls, to almost $1.83bn in
lost annual revenue,  with complete losses in the West Bank and Gaza
totalling around £4.4bn. 
Nazism rise to
power in Germany was an important juncture for Zionism. Although, the
persecution of Jews didn’t interest the Zionists, Hitler’s demise in 1945
provided the opportunity to take advantage of Jewish suffering, by
sabotaging efforts to relocate Jews to other parts of Europe, instead
increased Jewish migration into Palestine.
By 1946 the Jewish
population rose to 602,586, which was nearly four times the 1931
British Mandate population figure of 174,610, with 65% (approximately
1,339,763) being Arab as opposed to 759,717 (73.5%) in 1931.
“There are multiple motives behind the settlement enterprise, such as
cheap housing, but nationalist and religious ideologies (e.g. the belief
the West Bank, or ‘Judea and Samaria,’ is part of the biblical ‘Eretz
Israel’ play a very significant role,” said Human Rights Watch spokesman,
Bill Van Esveld.
The Judaic significance refers to, ‘chosen
people’ and ‘promised land’, prominent among settler motives, and forms
the basis of Israeli claims over Palestinian land. Most Rabbis peddle
Zionist interpretation in the Jewish Holy book, the Tanakh, focusing on
(Genesis 15:18) that, ‘God promised Abraham's descendants the land between
the River of Egypt and the Forat (Euphrates)’, and in (Exodus 23:31),
where ‘the border was set from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines;
the inhabitants of the land would be delivered into your hand; and the
people shall be driven out’.
According to traditional Jewish
scholars it is not for the Jewish people to fulfil this promise but a pact
between God and the prophet Elijah, yet to be delivered. Once delivered,
it would signal the later arrival of the Messiah, who would redeem the
Jews and all of mankind. Until then, God commands the Jews to remain in
exile until it is time to be redeemed. The term, ‘exile’, refers to
Jews being loyal subjects to their nation of residence, and not
establishing rule over the native population, including the land of
To gain unconditional public support, exploiting
Judaism wasn’t enough. Zionism needed land. In 1901, a proposal was
accepted by Zvi Hermann Schapira, a rabbi and professor of mathematics, to
establish an institute, the Jewish National Fund (JNF), to aggressively
purchase land for Jewish settlement, and form a ‘Jewish territory’ in
By the 1930’s the JNF using its leading influence,
persuaded other land agencies to adopt its practices of retaining the
legal title of the land, with leases granted to Jewish settlers.
The first Zionist land purchase was in the Jezreel Valley, bought
from the Sursuk family in 1925. The Judaic importance and its nearly
100,000 acres, of which at least 93,000 acres were fertile and arable,
made it one of the most fertile lands in Palestine. The Sursuk family
bought the land from the Turkish government for 18,000 Palestinian pounds
(roughly $50,000). The Zionist movement offered Sursuk an obscene amount
of 726,000 Palestinian pounds (approximately $2 million), which was
accepted by the Sursuk family.  This kind of exploitive dealings was
Most land purchases were followed by Arab
expulsion. A secret memorandum in 1930, written by Dr. A. Rupin, the
Jewish Agency agriculture and settlement expert, to his Agency, confirms
expulsion is built into Zionism, when he said, “Since there are hardly any
more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of
purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated
the land thus far, both owners of the land and tenants.”
believed 1270 Palestinian Arab families were removed from 13 villages. To
avoid a public scandal, each family was compensated 24 Palestinian pounds
(just above $50), seen as an exception to the rule, as normally Arab
families received nothing, for example the land purchase of Hefer Valley,
saw about 2000 Arab peasants dispossessed. 
historian, Ilan Pappe, dismisses the argument of the Palestinians leaving
on their own accord. In his research paper, later included in his book,
‘The ethnic cleansing of Palestine’, he reveals the official version of
the 1948 Arab expulsion.
“On 10 March 1948, a group of 11 veteran
Zionist leaders and Jewish officers put the finishing touches to a large
scale military operation for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Military orders that evening, were despatched to units, preparing
Palestinian expulsion from vast areas of the country. The detailed methods
included: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding
villages and population centers; setting fires to homes, properties, and
goods; expelling residents; demolishing homes; and finally planting mines
in the rubble to prevent the expelled Arabs from returning. Each unit was
issued its own list of villages and neighbourhoods to target in keeping
with the master plan, Code-named Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew)”.
Taking six months to complete its mission, more than half of Palestine’s
population, over 750,000 people, had been uprooted, 531 villages
destroyed, and 11 urban neighbourhoods had been emptied of their
The squeezing of Arab lands, especially during
1948-1959, further expanded Israeli territory. Some of the villages
included, the village of Umm Al-Fahm, with a population of 7000 and a land
of 140,000 dunam*, by 1959 its population increased to 11,000 but the land
was reduced to an astonishing 1500 dunam. The village of Tayyiba inhabited
3,500 people, with 45,000 dunam of land, by 1959 the population climbed to
7,000 but were left with only 13,000 dunam of land. The village of Tira
with a population of 3100 people, owned 28,000 dunam, by 1959 the
population rose to 5100 but only occupied 7,500 dunam of land. 
Deception was also used to expel Arab villagers, as witnessed in the
Arab-Christian village of Ikrit in December 1948. The villagers were
instructed by the Israeli army to leave their village temporarily, for two
weeks, alleging land mines where found in the area and needed to be
cleared for their safety. The residents moved to the nearby village of
Rama, which became the Rama Refugee Camp, until it was safe to return.
Two weeks has now become 64 years. Instead of being resigned to their
fate, in 1952 the villagers filed a lawsuit action, as they were
instructed to leave for a limited time, so their property couldn’t be
considered ‘absentee property’. The judges deceived the plaintiffs ruling
in favour of the plaintiffs’ right of return to their land, but on
condition of attaining a permit issued by the military governor. In
reality, the Governor would never issue a permit.  The case still goes
on. The court’s decision underlines how complicit the legal system is
with Zionism’s policies.
Resistance also came from individuals,
such as the Syrian, Shaykh Muhammad Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. He was an Imam
of a local mosque in Haifa and an educator by night, teaching literacy to
labourers. It was his student’s experiences, largely ex-farmers, recalling
how they had to leave their lands by the JNF, which had a profound impact
on Al-Qassam, who decided armed Jihad, (resistance) was necessary to end
Arab dispossession, and in 1930, he formed a small militant group.
By 1935, the group raided Jewish settlements and sabotaged British rail
lines, but Al-Qassam wanted a national revolution and wrote to the Arab
leadership in Jerusalem, to support an armed struggle, but was rejected,
as the leadership felt Arab rights could still be achieved through
When news reached the British of al-Qassam’s
vision, military units were deployed around a cave near Ya'bad in Jenin,
where he was hiding, with twelve of his followers. Soon afterwards, the
British soldiers pounded the area with heavy artillery. Al-Qassam, rather
than surrender, took a last stand and was killed.
efforts were not in vain, who instantly became a symbol of resistance,
epitomising the Palestinian land struggle. His martyrdom triggered the
great Arab Revolt (1936-1939). His legacy lives on with the military wing
of Hamas named after him, Ezzedeen al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.
the time Britain’s rule expired on 14 May 1948, the newly Zionist-aligned
U.S government emerged as the leading global political power, and using
its influence, forced the voting U.N nations to accept the two-state
resolution, which the Palestinians rejected, giving 56% of the land to the
Jews and 42% to the Arabs, the remaining land went to Christian and other
small minority groups.
The pressure for U.N Nations to
vote was acknowledged by James Forrestal, the U.S Minister of Defense at
the time, in his memoirs, stating, “The methods used to pressure and to
constrain the other nations within the U.N. were close to scandalous.”
Since then, political elites have conspired to view the
Palestinians as the ‘unseen’ people, which is emphasised with the ‘peace’
broker, the U.S government, forging strong economic and political ties
with Israel, while ensuring there are no Palestinian agreements in
dismantling illegal settlements and reclaiming civil rights equal to the
Palestine’s full admission to UNESCO (the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), in October
2011 is a historic small step for the Palestinians to address its rights
with some authority, and with at least 112 countries endorsing Palestinian
statehood, the pressure to be given full U.N membership, is growing and
cannot be ignored for much longer.
*One dunam is approximately 1,000 square metres
William. “The Native Population of the Americas in 1492”. 2nd edition
2 Loewen, James W., “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your
American History Textbook Got Wrong”. Touchstone, Simon & Schuster. 1995.
3 Peace Now Settlement Watch Team, Report-“Construction of Settlements
upon Private Land-Official Data”, March 2007.
4 Jabotinsky, Vladimir. The Jewish Herald (South Africa). “The Iron
Wall (We and the Arabs)”. November 26, 1937.
5 Ma’an Development Center, Parallel Realities: Israeli Settlements and
Palestinian Communities in the Jordan Valley, 2012.
6 7 The economic cost of the Israeli occupation for the occupied
Palestinian territory, A bulletin published by the Palestinian Ministry of
National Economy in cooperation with the Applied Research
Institute-Jerusalem (ARIJ), September 2011.
8 Palestine 1946: District and District Centers during the Mandate
period. Source: Palestine Remembered
9 Census of Palestine 1931, Volume I. British Mandate of Palestine.
10 Leizer Fishberg, Jews Against Zionism group.
11 Rabbi Cohen, Ahron. “Declaration
on ‘the Palestine issue’ by Neturei Karta of the UK”. 25 June, 2003.
(Accessed 26 June 2012).
12 The composition of the group that met is the product of a mosaic
reconstruction of several documents, as demonstrated in my book, The
Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 2006). The
document summarizing the meeting is found in the Israel Defense Force
Archives [IDFA], GHQ/Operations branch, 10 March 1948, File no.
922/75/595, and in the Haganah Archives [HA], File no. 73/94. The
description of the meeting is repeated by Israel Galili in the Mapai
center meeting, 4 April 1948, found in the HA, File no. 80/50/18. Chapter
4 of my book also documents the messages that went out on 10 March as well
as the eleven meetings prior to ﬁnalizing of the plan, of which full
minutes were recorded only for the January meeting.
13 Lehn and Davis 1988: 24, 86-7.
14, 19 Fouzi el-Asmar, “Zionist land-aggression in Israel/Palestine”,
4th Edition. English translation by Uri Davis, 4th Edition.
15 Arakhim, (Hebrew Newspaper), “The Arab Population in Israel”, No. 3,
16 The historian Meir Pail claims, in From Haganah to the IDF [in
Hebrew] (Tel Aviv: Zemora Bitan Modan, n.d.), p.307, the orders were sent
a week later. For the dispatch of the orders, see also Gershon Rivlin and
Elhanan Oren, The War of Independence: Ben-Gurion’s Diary, vol. 1 (Tel
Aviv: Ministry of Defense, 1982), p.147. The orders dispatched to the
Haganah brigades to move to State D—Mazav Dalet—and from the brigades to
the battalions can be found in HA, File no.73/94, 16 April 1948.
17 On Plan Dalet, which was approved in its broad lines several weeks
before that meeting, see Uri Ben-Eliezer, The Emergence of Israeli
Militarism, 1936–1956 (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1995), p. 253: “Plan Dalet aimed at
cleansing of villages, expulsion of Arabs from mixed towns.”
Pappe, white paper, p.7, “The 1948 Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”.
20 Yediot Aharonot, Hebrew newspaper. 30 June 1972.
21 Pappe, 2006, p. 35 Pappe speech given by the Pakistani
representative to the U.N Sir Zafrullah Kahn on 28 November 1947
22 "Forrestal's Memoirs", p.363, N.Y., The Viking Press. 1951.
Author's Short Bio
Ridwan Sheikh, former editor
of grassroots U.K activist group, Stop political terror, (Cease to Exist),
which focused on U.K terrorism legislation and highlighted cases of
prisoners detained without charge. He is currently the editor of
contributor focusing on Muslim issues and American and British policies.
The author holds a post graduate diploma in Journalism from London
School of Journalism. He has also visited Israel and the Palestinian
occupied territories in his student activism days, in conjunction with
Birzeit University, near Ramallah.
Contact e-mail address: