The Myth of Self-Defense
This self-image developed by the Zionist settlers of their soldiers appears to be inconsistent with the military practices that have taken place on the ground. In 1936-1939, Zionist military organizations Hagana, Etsel and Lehi carried out series of military operations against Palestinian civilian communities, causing many Palestinian civilian casualties. The operations varied and included: indiscriminate shooting of civilians passing by, shooting at: house residents, bus and train passengers. In addition, grenades were thrown at civilian gatherings, inside cafes, restaurants and cinemas. There was frequent use of temporary explosives, mines, car bombs and barrel bombs that were placed inside Palestinian city neighborhoods.
It is worth mentioning here that the Zionist military organizations were the first to blow up cars in Palestine, and the first to use barrel bombs filled with booby-trapped explosives, which was a distinctive Zionist innovation. These barrels were known as “Jewish barrel bomb technique”. They were used in the occupation of the city of Haifa, and during the ethnic cleansing of the city in 1948. The “barrels” were stuffed with explosives. They were rolled from the top of the Carmel Mountains to the lower Arab neighborhoods. They were electronically built so as to explode the moment they collided with the houses of Palestinian civilians. Moreover, barrel bombs were also used by Zionist terrorists against Palestinian civilians in the cities of Jaffa and Jerusalem.
These operations can only be described as terroristic, because the victims were always innocent Palestinian civilians and they bore Zionist political objectives. In order to better understand such Zionist practices, we need to shed some light on the phenomenon of terrorism, which was used as a functional tool for achieving political objectives.
According to George Lopez, an expert on the issue of terrorism,
Terrorism is a form of political violence… Terrorism is not violence without thinking. It reflects a detailed strategy that uses extreme violence to make people feel vulnerable and can be hurt many times … In the long run, the terrorists seek to employ this fear to serve real political objectives.
In response to claims by the Zionist writers that Zionists were forced to use violence and force because of violent operations carried out by the Palestinians against Zionist settlers, American writer Norman Finkelstein showed that Zionism “did not use … [v]iolence in spite of it. The use of force was not circumstantial. The use of force was integral in the goal of transforming Palestine, which has an overwhelming Arab majority, into a Jewish state.”
In his analysis of the myth of “the purity of arms”, Israeli academic and researcher Dan Yahav pointed out that,
Terrorism has coincided with Jewish settlement since the beginning of agricultural and urban settlement in Israel at the end of the 19th century, when security problems for individuals and property emerged. Many violent acts and accompanying reprisals have been carried out against the backdrop of numerous territorial disputes…
Moreover, Zionist violence and terror did not start with the ethnic cleansing campaign in 1948-1949, but preceded that in a number of years. For example, at the beginning of the 1936 general strike in Palestine, three members of the Hagna military organization threw two grenades inside an Arab café located in the Rumema neighborhood of Arab Jerusalem. Three Palestinians were killed and six others were wounded in the blast. In November 1940, three ships carrying 3,642 illegal Jewish settlers sailed to the port of Haifa. Their mission was organized with the approval of the Gestapo. Being illegal, they were arrested by the British mandate authorities, who prevented their entry into Palestine and decided to deport them to Mauritius. The British authorities transferred a number of illegal immigrants to a French ship called Patria. The leadership of both the Jewish Agency and the Hagana, decided to sabotage Patria to prevent it from sailing to Mauritius. On November 25, 1940 a mine was smuggled in and planted into Patriato be later detonated. The blast created a large hole and water began to enter the ship. As a result, the ship tilted on its side, throwing to the sea water a large number of Jewish illegal immigrants and drowning 267 of them.
Yahav’s book is full of many examples of terroristic practices that were perpetrated by the Zionist military organizations. Therefore, “The purity of arms”, “self-defense”, “hatred of violence” and “restraint” were ideological symbols and legends that were developed by Zionist settlers from the military, political leaders and writers. The aim behind their development was to conceal the truth, to conceal the atrocities and war crimes that were committed against the indigenous Palestinian population, and to show some sort of a fake morality of Zionist colonialist settlement.Zionist Political Violence: Patterns and Motives