I first learnt
about the Jews when I was just a little boy of 10. There was a picture in the
Illustrated Weekly of India. It depicted Kristallnacht! Even at that young age
I was interested in political events. The picture, especially the title, caught
my eye. I was shocked at what I read. Living in the midst of bloody
Hindu-Muslim riots in Bombay, I well knew the fear each community felt in the
area of the city in which it was a minority. People got killed. Houses and
businesses got burnt. In my childish ignorance I thought it happened only in
Bombay. And here I was reading about it happening in Germany to the Jews. My
heart went out to them.
I then learnt more
about their sufferings, their humiliations, mass murders, curfews, special
badges, permits to move from one place to another. These appeared in small
paragraphs in the Times of India. How terrible, I thought. I sympathized with the
Jews and was very, very angry at the Germans for treating them in such a way.
About five years
later I distinctly remember reading about the brave resistance put up by the
Jews of the Warsaw Ghettos against their tormentors. They were hailed as freedom
fighters and resistance heroes. I was filled with admiration at their bravery
and indomitable spirit. There were reports of how they were supplied with food,
clothing, men and weapons through underground �tunnels� (sewers). Movies were
made in their honor and I cheered and clapped along with the rest of the
audience at their heroic deeds as they flashed on the silver screen.
But not very long
thereafter, faces of Jews began to appear on �WANTED � TERRORIST� posters put
out by the British during the British Mandate years in Palestine. The former
freedom fighters had become terrorists!
And, a short time
later, those whose faces had appeared as terrorists on British posters, became
the heroes of Israel when it was formally established. At least two of them --
Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir -- went on to become prime ministers of
Israel. Many of these �terrorists� have streets in Israel named after them in
It can be argued
that all this was a long time ago and that 9/11 has changed all that. Israel
now no longer condones terrorism of any kind. It understands what terrorism is
and wants to wipe it out.
Well, Israel �s new
foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, is the daughter of Eitan Livni. the man who was
the chief operations officer of the Zionist Irgun Zwai Leumi, the terrorist
organization that dynamited, on the orders of Menachim Begin, the King David
Hotel in Jerusalem more than half a century back, in July �46, killing 91
people, mostly civilians. (On Eitan�s gravestone is the map of greater Israel,
extending over both sides of the Jordan River.)
Granted that the
sins of the fathers should not be visited on their children and the appointment
of Tzipi Livni as Israel�s foreign minister cannot be faulted simply because of
who her father was.
But then how is one
to explain the putting up by the Israelis, in July 2006, of a plaque honoring
the blowing up of the hotel as a deed of �resistance� to the British Mandate
government (which, it must be remembered, was put in place by the League of
Israelis felt a need to counterbalance the bust and plaque displayed in the UN
building in Manhattan in honor of Count Folk Bernadette. It was he who saved
21,000 prisoners from German camps during World War II and who the UN sent as
its envoy to Palestine to mediate and supervise the cease-fire there but was
murdered by Jewish terrorists.
very same Israelis insist on calling the brave Palestinians who have been
heroically resisting the illegal, brutal, belligerent, 39-year-old Israeli
occupation of West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem as �terrorists�!
By the simple
expedient of so labeling them �terrorists,� and playing into and exploiting the
worldwide fixation with terrorists and terrorism after 9/11, the Israelis have
arrogated to themselves the right to slaughter and massacre the Palestinians,
wipe out their villages, incarcerate and assassinate their leaders, kidnap,
detain and torture their young men, women and children, bomb or bulldoze their
homes, sometimes with residents still inside, confiscate their lands, steal and
collar their water, uproot their olive groves and orchards, destroy their
farmlands, rip out their roads, demolish their bridges and infrastructure,
impose closures and curfews, some lasting for days, restrict their movements,
humiliate and even kill them at checkpoints, deport them and prevent refugees
from returning to their homes.
What greater irony
can there be than this? And how shameful that the US should be complicit in
this and the international community should watch impotently.
So then, ask
yourself: Are there any resistance heroes left in this world or are they all
just terrorists? More specifically, are the Palestinians �terrorists� or are
they heroic, indomitable freedom fighters exercising their right to resist and
overthrow a long-standing and brutal occupation and neutralize state terrorism
of the worst kind?
Gulamhusein A. Abba is a 78-year-old writer
with over 30 years experience as a journalist. His work has been published
widely. Originally from India he came to the US in 1982 and has been residing
here ever since. The Middle East is his special focus with emphasis on
Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Palestine. He has researched and studied
exhaustively the history of the Jews and Arabs, with special reference to the
establishment of the state of Israel and its evolution on the one hand and the
struggle of the Palestinians for a state of their own on the other. His e-mail
address is email@example.com.