By Hossam Shaker
The stone walls are meticulously sculpted so as to give those who sit in the seats of this parliament a special sense of its historical depth, and that there was no history for anyone else in this country; that no one exists but them. Some of these parliamentarians return in the evening with their automatic rifles to the settlements established in the West Bank and look down on the valley below through the window of a house built on the hill.
Ultimately, the Knesset members will have taken part in the occupation of history and geography together. The Palestinian people, who are rooted in this land, do not exist in the minds of the settlers, their government and their parliament, nor should they exist in the future.
The situation did not begin with the enactment of the “Jewish Nation State” law passed by the Knesset on Thursday 19 July 2018. Since the beginning of this century, the Knesset has witnessed bills that are astonishing in their names and contents, saturated with a mixture of mania, fanaticism and racism. Even during the time of “peace with the Palestinians” at the time of the signing of the Oslo Accords, not one Israeli official dared to use the words “the Palestinian people”. Those others at best were “Palestinians”, just Palestinians. They are not a people and they are not entitled to be, as a people should have a homeland, history and rights. These are all taboo in the Israeli political culture, even before the enactment of the Jewish Nation State law in the summer of 2018.
On the street, the most popular chant remains “Death to the Arabs”. It is easy to find it written on the walls as well as flooding social networking sites and public comments posted on news sites. It is the preferred chant during the fascist rallies in the squares and roads.
The state of mania within the army and settler community has escalated to an unprecendented level that it does not seem surprising that this is accompanied by the the Knesset convening to pass a law that seems closer to medieval culture or the pre-democratic era. The new law is dedicated to embracing an existential complex that lies at the core of the state project produced by Zionism and the collusion of the colonial era. This state is based on naïve mythical depictions full of fabrications, misinterpretation, denial and even some amusing tales. To protect these mythical concepts, they must be forever fused with a package of laws or embalmed for fear of rotting in the new era of consciousness.
The “Jewish Nation State” law, passed by the Knesset, can be summed up as embodying a blatant extensive campaign against history, the present and the future in a manner eliminating any opportunity for Israeli recognition of the basic existence of the Palestinian people. What this parliament wants to say is: there is no Palestine or Palestinian people or even Palestinians and that everything between the sea and the river is Jewish, Zionist, Israeli property since the rise of the first sun until the Day of Judgement.
The situation quickly declined after the Isreali legislators grew tired of the step-by-step tactic. Their appetite for expansion grew during Trump’s rule, enticing them to devour the meat in one bite rather than slowly eat it piece by piece. This excessive greed has made the Knesset members forget that this one-step measure is a perfect recipe for racial suffocation and fighting the future.
But what can we do with a parliament that since its establishment has been in a state of denial of the existence of the Palestinian people and the country’s true history? As for the vote it conducted on 19 July, it was a explicit expression of its immersion into the culture of denial despite the fact that the number of Palestinians in historical Palestine today is no less than the number of Isreali Jews, in addition to the seven million Palestinians in exile and the Diaspora as a result of the Nakba. The real meaning of this law is that the Palestinian people do not exist and that this country does not belong to the Palestinians in any case. However, some Isrealis recognise the Nakba in their own way when they publically claim that their leadership would carry out a second Nakba against the Palestinians.
By means of this law, the parliament has crushed any conceivable concept of a political settlement with the Palestinian side, not only by considering Jerusalem as the capital of Isreal but also by generously exaggerating the concepts of “the Land of Israel”. The major issue here is: How can an agreement to establish a state be reached when it denies the existence of this state’s people?
The Knesset members were more specific when they began their new law with the sanctification of the settlements in the West Bank. The law stipulates that “the state views Jewish settlement as a national value and will labour to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”
In a state without a constitution, such basic legal texts are regarded on the same level as a constitution, all the rights in this disgraceful law are reserved only for the Jews and leave out the couontry’s indeginous people, or those who remained in the counry after the Nakba.
As for the area of the country and its borders, the law kept it unspecified in order to suit the fantasies of expansion. The right to self-determination in this boundless state is mentioned in the law as an entitlement given to the Jews and no one else, along with the right to determine the fate of others. With regards to settlements, they belong only to them, creating a foundation for potential rounds of ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion, while reserving the right to attract only Jewish migrants from abroad. Not even the children of the refugees from Haifa, Jaffa, Galilee and the Negev who are across the world, have the right to return of course, and they basically do not exist according to the logic of this state.
Racism has been revived in our world and has recovered. We must acknowledge that the Israeli apartheid works with unprecedented efficiency, using a perfectly ideal parliament for this task and a government team that includes some of the fascists living on the hills. The “others” remaining in the villages of the valley seem to be only microscopic creatures of a lower class that can easily be ignored or crushed if they cause a disturbance, as the country does not belong to them; they have no history, and should not have a future.