Totnes Civic Hall Sunday April 27 11.30 am
My reason for standing here – A doctor and surgeon stands for healing, and not for harming. I cannot stand seeing any creature harmed. And when I sign my name I prefix that with 'for truth, reason and justice – the three legs of my talk.
At the end of my talk I will give you my ideas as to how nations/entities can murder, maim and occupy in defiance of international laws and our presumed humanity, and how we might turn the foul tide. And in question time, we will discuss how we, the citizens, might stop the Gaderene rush to the abyss.
Holocaust – literally – totally consumed by fire, leaving just the smoke. Greek word but the 'kaust' derived from Hebrew and from sacrifice. Its main modern meaning is the massive destruction of humans by other humans. For most people it is associated entirely with the industrial and satanic killing of some millions of Jews under the Third Reich. Most people are less aware that Romanies, Socialists, Poles and other 'untermenschen' were also gathered in. We must serve truth and include the near extermination of 20 million North American Indians and the Australian Aborigine as holocausts. The Russians lost 27 million in WW2, without which loss we would not be free. There was the genocide of the Armenian Christians in 1915. If ever there were burnt and massive sacrifices, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were they. In a flash, and then the doors of hell closed with a boom.
Zionism – a religious and nationalistic ideology central to which is a promised land for a chosen people. Its followers are usually exclusivist, racist and supremacist.
Zionism started largely because of Eastern European pogroms against Jews. And there was the ancient homeland of the Torah in the being. Zionism came to its promised land in the 1890's when the first Jewish European settlers started. At that time there were only 24,000 Jews who were integrated and mostly aboriginal. The Zionists did not want Arab labourers to go on working this promised land and they lost their livelihoods. By the 1920's there were squatter camps in Haifa .
Balfour Declaration 2nd November 1917
The British government were being badgered by the Zionists, headed by Chaim Weizmann and Lord Rothschild, the President of the World Zionist Association. These men were asked to provide a formula for a homeland in Palestine. It was cosy because Balfour, the Foreign Secretary, was a Zionist. 126 words emerged on half A4. These were cabled to President Wilson for his approval. You will recall that GB was greatly indebted to the US then.
"His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
No Palestinian was consulted and in later writing, Balfour showed his total disdain for them. The UK had given away a land that did not belong to it, and to a people who had no conventional legal claim to it.
Simultaneously, the third battle of Gaza was raging. This was one of the many battles being waged by the 'great' powers to carve out their empires - the driving force for WW1. The British had enlisted Arab help in driving the Turks from Palestine after General Allenby promised them independence! Thus there was treachery in Whitehall, and linked treachery 3000 sea miles away.
It needs to be said, that the only Jew in the cabinet, Lord Montague, and Lord Sydenham, both spoke strongly against the principle of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Lord Montague's statement is very worth reading; he was obviously a plain speaking and truthful man.
1917 to 1946
The process of colonization accelerated. In 1923, the League of Nations gave the mandate of Palestine to the UK. The Palestinian people, 80% Muslim, 20% Christian saw the writing on the wall and there was great resentment which was inflamed by preferential treatment of the Zionist Jews. There was underground violence and later a sustained revolt, which was fed by joblessness and hunger on the Palestinian side.
Three of a myriad of examples of that oppression.
1.The Zionists asked if they could establish a university and the British agreed. The Palestinians asked and the answer was No. Those 'civil and religious rights' were of nought.
2.The Zionists set up their own forces which the British co-opted since they were seen as allies. Ord Wingate, of Chindit Fame, trained and ran Special Night Squads which carried out torture and summary executions of Arabs, as is done now.
3.The barbaric nature of British occupation is captured thus in a letter home from one of our policemen, Sydney Burr. 'any Johnny Arab who is caught by us in suspicious circumstances is shot out of hand'. And - after a bombing the police had 'descended on a sook and thrashed every Arab we saw, smashed allshops ans cafes and created havoc and bloodshed'. For that read Iraq.
In 1945, there was a concerted Zionist guerilla campaign to drive the British out. The bombing of the King David Hotel in '46 with the killing of 90 British and Palestinian persons an example. BBC film on terrorism – elderly Zionist female 'We were at war'.
Mandate given up to the new United Nations. Partition giving 46% of the land to the Palestinians who composed two-thirds of the population, and 54% to the Zionist Jews. Palestinian Arabs and the other Arab countries opposed this; they upheld "that the rule of Palestine should revert to its inhabitants, in accordance with the provisions of […] the Charter of the United Nations. In other words – plurality. Ethnic cleansing started in '47. Civil war broke out and initially there were Arab gains. The ethnic cleansing was accelerated by the most brutal massacre of 250 men, women and children at Deir Yasin by the Irgun and Palmach brigades from 9-11 th of April. I have visited Deir Yasin and its few roofless buildings. There is nothing which commemorates the pain and loss. One mile away is Vad Yashem and its memories of the holocaust lit by the Third Reich. Many thousands visit there including visiting heads of state. There were about 50 massacres of Palestinians in all.
The better-off had fled already but at least 750,000 took to the roads, to east, south to Gaza and north to Lebanon with those things they could carry. The keys to their houses were in their deep pockets in the sure expectation that their expulsion was temporary. They were strafed and shelled to speed their evacuation. Some of the elderly died with the stress and from lack of water. Many ended up under canvas. Some wells were poisoned and cholera and other enteric disease was common. In some camps it is said that only one in five children reached the age of 5. As the towns and villages were emptied some houses were levelled and others later occupied by incoming Jews. About 500 villages were raized completely and they became mounds planted with pines by the new Israelis.
On the 14th of May, the Zionists declared their independence – from the British, and the Hagana was fully mobilised. This was the War of Independence or the Arab-Israeli War.
SLIDES OF THE REFUGEES
These terrible crimes were being planned in the 30's. Ben Gurion was the leader then and some of the quotations are chilling. He spoke of great force being required to remove the Palestinians from Palestine. In 1937, he said 'The boundaries of Zionist aspirations are the concern of the Jewish people and no external factor will be able to limit them'. (from a speech cited in his Memoirs).
Menachim Begin, another future Prime Minister gloated over the impact this massacre on Deir Yasin had thoughout Palestine.
"A legend of terror spread amongst Arabs who were seized with panic at the mention of our Irgun soldiers. It was worth half a dozen battalions to the forces of Israel. Arabs throughout the country - were seized with limitless panic and started to flee for their lives. This mass flight soon developed into a maddened, uncontrollable stampede. Over 600,000 Palestinains fled the slaughtering Jews. The Political and economic significance of this development can hardly be overestimated." From The Hidden History of Zionism by Ralph Schoenman, p. 34.
Although there were some quieter times, the suffering of al nakba, the catastrophe of 1948 has continued without let up. Over 100,000 houses were demolished at the start. Since 1967 18,000 homes, the temples of the family, have been blown up or crushed with machines. Even though the starting population was a million only in 1948, over 600,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned since then. This is includes minors. Over 11,000 are in prison now including c. 30 legislators. Torture has not ceased. Since the start of this, the second intifada, in September 2000, over 4000 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis have been killed. The ratio of children killed is 9:1 Palestinian:Israeli. Children get shot for throwing stones at armoured vehicles. C. 35,000 Palestinians have been injured, some terribly.
The actions of the Israeli Occupation Force and those who direct it are beyond international law and humanity. For instance, the siege of Gaza which I saw at its start in March 2006 and which was accompanied by shelling, is collective punishment – and of a population due special protection from its occupation. The litany is long and very painful even to read. For instance, on the 16th of this month, 10 Mercaver tanks surrounded the Al Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza as they fought with freedom fighters defending the eastern border. I have a very close association with it. Cannon and four shells were fired at the hospital. Water flooded from the roof tank and the electricity was cut. The patients were terrified but happily no one was injured.
I could tell you of thousands of lawless and pitiless acts. The lawlessness is well recorded internationally. General Assembly Resolution 194 was passed in 1948 six months after the nakba started. This directed that those refugees that wished to live in peace! should return to their homes – I have said how so many were destroyed. For those that wanted to stay in their camps, compensation was to be paid. The new Israel ignored that, just as it has ignored the several hundred UNGA and Security Council Resolutions since with the connivance of the US and UK.
I have covered a fraction of the evil. The wall for instance, I have jumped over. The settlements in the 'West Bank', and the 450,000 Israelis within them – the facts on the ground as Sharon called them, which expand as I speak.
The Jewish diaspora – the scatttering, goes back to the Roman occupation of Palestine and well beyond. Anyone who has a Jewish mother has the right of 'return' from anywhere in the world. The Palestinian diaspora sprung from el nakba in '48 and since. NO Palestinian is allowed by the Zionist entity to return to the land which is called Israel. There are even difficulties in his visiting the remnants of Palestine. By a variety of means which includes 'suicide' bombing, but mostly through a grossly partisan Western press, the Palestinian has been turned from victim into culprit and blame hung about him.
I return to the title. I have not described a Palestinian Holocaust. I have instead described an ethnic cleansing, as Ilan Pappe has entitled his book. It was massive at first, and continued. This is an element of genocide as described by the Polish Jew, Lemkin. Cleansing – an ugly word, and genocide no less so. But realize that the western nations have been complicit in this by their silence or by their activity as in the case of the US. Just as now over 40 western nations including all 25 EU countries are aiding and abetting Israel in its strangulation of 1.5 million people, half of them children, in Gaza. I have no need to tell you that collective punishment is crime in international law. That is compounded because refugees are due special protection.
So very briefly, I will speak of war crimes committed 500 miles to the east in Iraq. In 1991 and in the tail end of 'Desert Storm' ,we the British bombed the general hospital and children's hospital. Did you know that? War crime. Sanctions were started to force Saddam to disarm. War crime. The US and the UK enforced those sanctions alone after the French pulled out. Hardly a mouse entered Iraq. Penicillin was barred in case it could be used in germ warfare production. The previously excellent medicaland water services deteriorated, and food was short. In the 12 years of sanctions over 500,000 children died who would otherwise have lived. Reporter "We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?". Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." A relative of hers had died in a Nazi death camp.
And then the planned war, with all its pretexts on a country which was no threat to the US, UK or any other country and which had no lawful basis under the UN Charter. That has killed over one million Iraqis, maimed by rule of thumb at least 2 million, caused 4 million refugees – half internal and half external, and widowed a million women. The barbarity and lawlessness is beyond all words and for those relying on our formal media with their 'embeds' it is beyong all truth as well.
Just before I finish I show you images of Ali Abbas. This was about 10 days after the start of Mr Bush's 'Shock and Awe' which was the first part of his ironically titled 'Operation Enduring Freedom' . Ali's family were asleep when a weapon exploded. His Mum and Dad and fourteen relatives were incinerated.
In my book, the crime against Ali and his family alone warrants the arraignment of Bush and Blair and their cabals before a world court. Instead the latter stains the pulpit rail of Westminster Cathedral and the former receives Pope Benedict with words that included 'the sanctity of human life'.
I am pointing to the obvious fact that the powerful own the law. Israel, the US and the UK act with impunity. They must not. We must reclaim reason and banish evil force. How we do that, I wish to be the central matter for discussion now.
At the end I will sum up and give you some thoughts of mine – briefly QUESTIONS
WHAT MUST WE DO
The hour is late, very late. The rogue republic and two rogue states are winding up to attack Iran with tactical nuclear missiles.
First, silence or nihilism is complicity.
The German people are still reviled for their silence. But exactly the same techniques were used on them, as are now being used on us. The burning of the Reichstag in 1933 which put fear in their hearts and ushered in ever more draconian laws was the 9/11 and 7/7 of this ''Project of the New American Century''. We are now at 1939. Do not be silent in the twilight. Your children will not say thank you for saying, repeatedly, 'I feel powerless'.
The internet, whilst it remains largely free, is a bastion of freedom. Public meetings like this must regain their old importance. Measure the untruths in the media, especially in the State Broadcasting Service – the ZBC. Deluge it with complaints about its almost perpetual bias including the tide of anti-Islamic and other racist dross designed to distract you and to polarise you.
'Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people' – Adams 1775
Then stand up and speak out when you feel you must.
In every possible place - to neighbours, family, public places, newspaper columns, the media. Put notices or boards on your car if you have one, and if you haven't, put them where they are seen like motorway bridges. There is a potential fine of 2000 pounds but the law is not applied to commercial bill stickers. What is the greater crime – a bill or a burnt child?
Demonstrate with others.
It gives you some strength by being with other citizens who feel the same and it might even get reported on TV.
Direct non-violent action.
The crimes being committed by Bush, Brown, Olmert and others are so great that this is fully justified in morality and law ie 'the prevention of a greater crime'. Those people (like Linda Percis) who disabled a B52 at Fairford were right to do that. I am not sure, as a very law abiding man, that I would have the guts to do it. I am inhibited in knowing that if I got a criminal record, I might not be able to travel to the remnants of Palestine any more.
The grotesque injustice we see, the weeping we hear, mean that our political system must never be the same again. Shut your ears to 'liberals' who think that negotiation/correspondence with an MP who voted for the massive assault on Iraq will bear fruit. They delude themselves and others: they are the handmaidens of the totalitarian. You know that what I say applies to a large majority of MPs. Their relationship, party to party is symbiotic, in fact incestuous. The incumbent here in Totnes is a case in point. At the talk by Martin Bell in May two years ago, Mr Steen was challenged about his support for the Iraq war. I hope I am correct in saying that Mr Steen said the Tories voted for the war because Labour voted with them on the Falklands! 'You scratch my back and I will let you do a Churchill on Iraq.' Explain. What Mr Steen did not say was that Duncan-Smith, Ancram and Jenkin had crossed the pond at least twice to get their marching orders for Iraq from their Republican/neo-con pals in 2002.
No. You correspond with and meet MPs who are conscientious. The others you do your damnedest to oust at the earliest opportunity. They have been complicit in crimes of the greatest magnitude. In a just world they would be in those gaols they are so eager to build. Blair spoke in 2006 of 'an arc of extremism' as the bombs were falling on Lebanon and the people were dying in Gaza and the 'West Bank', and by the score in Iraq – the latter of his making. Extremism!!
There is no 'arc of extremism', which of course took in Syria and Iran.
There is not an arc, but an axis of extreme evil. At one pole there is Tel Aviv, at the other is Washington, and sitting in the middle is London. Power oscillates back and forth along this axis as busily as all those jets. This axis has no interest in justice or in true democracy. It cannot warm to the smile of a child or comfort a tear.
Our democracy is an illusion. It has failed and it has caused great suffering. We must not excuse it but renew it. There must be peaceful revolution.
Most important of all - Go to the Remnants of Palestine
Go stand with your brothers and sisters there. Embrace them. See their resilience and be warmed by the smiles, 58 years after their agony started. Challenge the Israeli State by being there. Learn a great deal more and absorb the undiluted evil of an 'occupation'. Being there gives them heart; they value it greatly.
Even more - we must be outraged, outraged, by what we see in our world
If there is no justice there will be no peace in Palestine.
If there is no peace in Palestine, there will be no peace in the Middle East.
If there is no peace in the Middle East, there will be no peace in our world'
David Halpin FRCS
SLIDE - BLOSSOM
By Mike Odetalla
What benefit or joy if,
I were to gain the world,
But lose the almond blossoms in my land?
Drink a cup of coffee, everyplace
But my mother’s home
Journey to the moon,
But not to the graves of my ancestors
See the world’s wonders,
But not the setting sun as it dips behind ancient olive groves
Tour the world over,
But lose the flowers on the hills of my native land
Nothing but lethal silence…
No need to gain the world
Just a cup of coffee
In a familiar place and
An end to the lethal silence
Within the hearts of the living…