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Racist Israeli Vigilantism and the Subjugation of the Palestinian People

On 18 October 2015, an early twenty-something Eritrean migrant by the name of Habton Zerhum, was unjustly shot by an Israeli security guard and then beaten by a mob of racist Israeli vigilantes in the town of Beersheba. He later died from his wounds. Zerhom's murder was the result of an earlier event where an Arab-Israeli citizen with a gun and knife allegedly killed an Israeli soldier, stole his weapon and opened fire on a crowd, injuring nine. In the mayhem that followed, a video shows Zerhom crawling for cover when a security guard walks up and shoot him at close proximity. As Zerhom lay in a pool of his own blood, he is cursed, kicked and hit with a rack of chairs by a racist mob of Israeli Jews. It was later reported that the security guard mistook Zerhom for an attacker.

According to other news reports Zerhom worked in a plant nursery and was in Beersheba to renew his work visa. Zerhom, who migrated to Israel to seek a better way of life, "was a modest man, quiet, and he tried to do his job as best as he could" said his employer, Sagi Malachi.

Immediately following the incident, Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, "It is a disgrace to Israeli society, and those that carried out this lynching need to be found and brought to justice." What is interesting is that Amidror used the word lynching to describe the brutal murder of Zerhom but not the murders of thousands of Palestinian people since 1947.

The settler "state" of Israel has been rocked by knife-wielding Arab-Israeli protestors reacting to rumors that the Israeli government was planning to ban Palestinians from accessing Jerusalem's Temple Mount which is home to Islam's third most holiest site - the Al-aqsa Mosque. Israel has occupied this site since 1967. But the current Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted far beyond Israeli occupation of the Temple Mount. It is rooted in historical land-theft, genocide and colonization of the Palestinian people by the imperialist Israeli settler state. Israel's rise to power and dominance in Palestine began in the late 1800's when European Jews formed a movement called zionism which sought to establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Jews began arriving en masse in Palestine in the early 1900s, angering the Arab population who had been the majority in the region since AD 600. In 1947, to quell a potential uprising by Arab Palestinians, the United Nations proposed dividing the region into an Arab state and a Jewish state, which the Palestinians rejected of course. Not to be deterred from inhabiting a land which it felt it was entitled based upon Biblical prophecy, the settler state of Israel forcibly came into being on 14 May 14 1948.

The Palestinian intifadas (uprisings) are a natural reaction to almost seven decades of brutal Israeli occupation of their homeland. Palestinian revolutionary nationalism developed as a response to Zionism and its frequent land-thefts and unauthorized settlement expansions into Palestinian territories. But Israel's bullying, colonization and subjugation of the Palestinian people wouldn't be possible without the nearly $3 billion Israel receives annually in U.S. military aid. This aid guarantees the United States a strategic military ally in the Middle East. Clearly the U.S. government is an accomplice to the crime of genocide committed by Israel against defenseless Palestinian men, women and children.

Don't think it's genocide? According to the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide" adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, genocide means "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, such as: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Taking the United Nations's definition of the crime of genocide into consideration, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the settler state of Israel is committing mass genocide against the Palestinian people via outright murder, bombing campaigns, embargoes, land thefts, forced migrations, unlawful arrests and detentions, etc. A Jewish people who once suffered genocide at the hands of Hitler and his Nazi regime have themselves assumed the role of neo-Nazis by committing genocide upon the Palestinians because of their ethnic-Arab background and Muslim and Christian beliefs.

The Israeli colonialism/imperialism that the Palestinian people are confronted with on a daily basis is equal in its intensity and brutality to the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and american variety which nearly wiped out entire populations of Indigenous natives in Central and South America beginning in 1492; the abduction of Africans from their homeland in the 15th century; the lynchings and mass slavery and incarceration of Blacks beginning in 1619; and the colonial oppression which the Haitian people successful resisted during the Haitian revolution from 1790-1802, leading to their independence and the establishment of the first Black Republic in the world in 1804.

Those of us who embrace and practice revolutionary internationalism must stand in solidarity with the Palestinians and oppressed people all over the world who are engaged in national liberation struggles for their right to self-determination. All power to the Palestinian people!

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