We are barely halfway into the month of Ramadan and already the toll has gone beyond 20 Palestinians dead and countless wounded. Al-Aqsa mosque has been raided and the images of militarized Israeli police storming the mosque, beating and shooting indiscriminately at worshipers, demonstrate what was clear from the beginning: Israel wants this month to be as bloody as possible for Palestinians. There must be someone among the Israeli decision-makers who believes that spilling endless amounts of Palestinian blood and desecrating Al-Aqsa will satisfy the beast of Israeli public opinion. History has shown that that person is wrong.
People will often ask what is the “end game” for Israel, or what is it that Israel really wants – assuming that the violence and shedding of Palestinian blood is just temporary, and perhaps somewhere there is a loftier goal. However, the answer is looking us right in the face: Israel wants to destroy all that is dear to Palestinians – holy places, historic monuments, Palestinian homes and institutions, the Palestinian landscape – and to take as many Palestinian lives as possible in the process. It has been more than one hundred years since the Zionists set foot in Palestine, and Zionism and its crowning achievement, the apartheid regime of Israel, demonstrate clearly what the “end game” is for Israel.
The boundary between religion and nationalism was intentionally blurred by the Zionists very early on. Zionism claims that the Jewish religion is a nationality and therefore religious symbols have become symbols of national identity and importance. Starting with the concept of “the Holy Land of Israel – most of which, though not all, exists within Palestine – Zionists turned what was always a religious, spiritual yearning into a national symbol. For thousands of years, Jewish people prayed for the Messiah so that we could live in a world without wars, a world where all people worship their creator in peace. However, even though the Jewish people never made such a claim, the Zionists claim that the Jewish scriptures are proof that Palestine belongs to them.
The Zionists turned religious yearning into a national goal that has to be achieved by force. They purposefully misinterpreted the yearning to pray in Jerusalem as a desire to gain sovereignty at all cost, thus turning one of the most sacred places for both Jews and Muslims into a bloody battleground.
What almost became the Zionist national anthem, and is perhaps better known around the world than that anthem, is the song Jerusalem of Gold. This song was commissioned by Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kolek just a few weeks prior to the 1967 Israeli assault on Arab countries, an assault that became known as The Six Day War. The name “six days” is also a reference to Jewish scripture, where it is stated that the Almighty created the world in six days.
Jerusalem of Gold is a propaganda song that very skillfully transforms religious themes into secular nationalistic ones. One of these themes is the idea of “Har Habayit,” or the Temple Mount, where supposedly the Jewish temple once stood. Owing to the holiness of the place, Jewish people are forbidden by Jewish law itself from stepping onto the Mount. However, for Zionists, it is perfectly permissible for armed Jewish-Zionist soldiers and settlers to desecrate it by trampling all over it, shooting and beating worshippers.
In the Song Jerusalem of Gold, written before the attack and conquest of East Jerusalem, there is a line that says, “no one ascends the Temple Mount in the Old City.” After the Old City of Jerusalem was taken, the songwriter, Naomi Shemer, a racist Zionist of the highest degree, changed the line to read, “A Shofar calls on the Temple Mount in The Old City,” a shofar being the ritual ram’s horn Jews used during religious celbrations. Naomi Shemer was a completely secular Zionist.
Watching the violence perpetrated against Palestinians by Israeli soldiers and police, the hate is obvious. In images from Al-Aqsa during Ramdan in both 2021 and 2022, the hatred and contempt towards the Palestinians cannot be masked. As a matter of fact – having seen first-hand the Jerusalem police, the police in the Naqab, and IDF soldiers as they attack Palestinians – the hate-filled faces of the cops make my blood run cold.
One has to ask how such hate is cultivated and the answer is through a racist discourse that is evident in all walks of life and on all levels of Israeli society. From a very young age, Israeli children will hear adults around them use language like “We need to let them have it,” “We need to flatten Gaza,” “A good Arab is a dead Arab” – and the list of terms that portray Palestinians as vicious enemies who deserve what they get and more goes on. Then, on television, commentators will speak about “Arabs” in derogatory terms and, if there is an “Arab” being interviewed, the tone of the conversation is patronizing at best, and always rude and degrading.
After eighteen years of hate-filled indoctrination, give that child a uniform and a gun and send them to “defend their country and their God-given rights,” and we can see the results every day as Palestinians are killed, cut down like young branches, and left to die. Never mind that, according to the very scriptures that the Zionists like to reference, the actions taken by the state of Israel against the Palestinians are an abomination and violate the very essence of Judaism.
An alarming death toll
As Ramadan approached this year, it was obvious that Israel was going to spill Palestinian blood. It was not a question of “if” but of “how many.” Each day over the past few weeks we hear of more and more young Palestinians killed, wounded, and detained – and the worst is yet to come. The question, when it comes to Palestine, is how many more will be killed before action is taken to stop Israel? Left to its own devices, Israel will continue on the path of violence and destruction until Al-Aqsa is burned and a so-called Jewish temple is erected in its place. With the death toll already alarming, how much more will Israeli thirst demand?
Feature photo | Israeli troops aim their weapons at Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 15, 2022. Mahmoud Illean | AP