The return of the barbarians

Salman Abu Sitta
Tuesday 17 Oct 2023

The banning of demonstrations in Europe and the US in support of justice for the Palestinians is evidence that the Zionist war against them is very much alive today, writes Salman Abu Sitta


Almost one thousand years ago on 27 November 1095, the Roman Catholic Pope Urban II exhorted European kings, princes, and dukes to drop their quarrels and to wage a Crusader war to liberate the Holy Land from its (mostly Muslim) people.

 “Set out on the road to the Holy Sepulchre [in Jerusalem]. Take the land from that wicked people and make it your own,” he said.

The Crusaders came and stayed for a couple of hundred years. Wherever they went, the sword was their tool, and blood was their language. When they entered Jerusalem, the blood of the city’s slaughtered inhabitants came up to their knees. In Acre (Akka), friendly Christian people greeted them. Because of their white robes, the Crusaders thought they were Muslims and butchered them as well.

The Crusaders are gone, but their bloody record is remembered. Their heirs are still lusting for blood.

I cannot help but observe the string of European leaders now falling over each other to pay tribute to the Zionist state of Israel and offer it guns, planes, and media backup to spread propaganda and to vilify the defenders of their homes.

They have come in droves. From the UK have come Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, himself of Indian origin, and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, sweeping under the rug 300 years of British brutality abroad including the 1919 Amritsar Massacre in India. French President Emmanuel Macron has come from France, with its horrendous record of killing one million Algerians by suffocating them with poison gas in caves or dropping them from helicopters into the sea during the Algerian War of Independence in the 1950s. 

From Belgium have come those with the blood of one million Africans on their hands. From Holland have come the bloody Afrikaners with their record in South Africa with its Apartheid legacy that has now been developed and expanded in Israel.

Then we have the 20th-century newcomer, the US, with its record of one million slaughtered Iraqis and its various disgraceful escapes, hanging onto the tails of helicopters from Vietnam and Kabul. This newcomer to the Crusader armies is moving its aircraft carriers to near our shores and transporting weapons and phosphorus bombs with them, all to subdue 1,500 young refugees in a Gaza camp who dared to destroy the barriers of their prison camp earlier this month and to attack the squatters on their land and do the natural thing by returning home.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken proudly proclaimed that he is not (only) the foreign minister of the US but is also an (Israeli) Jew whose grandfather escaped death in Europe.

He failed to explain why he did not fight the people who killed or tried to kill his grandfather. Or why he is now gathering US might to attack innocent people who never so much as saw his grandfather. Or why he is not fighting the people who attacked and killed many Jews like his grandfather. 

That is plainly an act of cowardice: to leave the guilty alone and to turn on defenceless people and butcher them.

Butcher them they have. The Zionists have committed 356 war crimes to date, including 90 massacres in 1948-1949, and they have depopulated 560 Palestinian towns and villages. They have not stopped since the foundations of the Zionist state and have been continuing for over 27,000 days when the “civilised” conscience of Europe was in a deep coma.

The new Crusaders, including the new member, the US, are now waging a propaganda war against the Palestinian refugees who tried to rise up from a concentration camp and to return home. They have spread the despicable lie that the resistance fighters smashed the heads of babies and raped women. They have retracted this horrible story, but its effects linger on.

The irony, not made public of course, is that this is precisely what the Zionist Israelis did just 70 or so years ago. In one case, on 13 May 1948, they attacked the village of Abu Shusha in the Ramleh district of Palestine, killing a large number of people in their homes, in the streets, and in the fields. One soldier held a woman with a child in a corner and split the child’s head open with an axe. He told the woman to “go and tell the others what just happened.”

Regarding the rape of Palestinian women by the Zionists, this can be read about in Israeli books, including those by Zionist historian Benny Morris.

With reference to the Gaza concentration camps, Israel also created 17 concentration and forced labour camps in Palestine in 1948-1953 in which captured Palestinian farmers were put to work as slave labour. That was only three years after such camps were closed in Germany. The evidence comes from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) archives and the testimony of survivors.

For 75 years, the Gaza concentration camp has exceeded in size those of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Dachau before they were liberated at the end of World War II. The Gaza population today is 2.3 million people, and the Strip has a density of 7,000 people per km2 on 1.3 per cent of historical Palestine. These people were expelled from 247 villages in southern Palestine by the Zionists. The settlers on their land are fewer in number today than the population of the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza.

These people are not yet liberated. On the contrary, they are now being attacked by the very same forces that liberated the European camps. Banning demonstrations in Europe and the US in support of the Palestinian right to return and criminalising justice in Palestine is evidence that the Crusader/Zionist war is still alive today.

But the Palestinians, even after three generations, have not forgotten where their homes are, and they are still determined to return to them. They will determine the future, for there is a basic rule, not comprehended by their enemies, that you cannot defeat the human quest for freedom.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 19 October, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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