A Memorial Day Celebration for Palestinian Freedom in a Hostile Occupied Land

THE HOLY DAY & SANCTITY OF THE MEANING OF MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day is traditionally all about recognizing and keeping alive the supreme sacrifices of all the world’s fallen men, women and children warriors who once put themselves and their lives on the line, and ended up paying the ultimate price – their very existence in this world. On that day, when a nation’s flags are lowered to half-mast, it’s meant as a symbol to the still living of the legacy of freedom that cost the lives of their fallen one’s. The act of lowering the flag is a defiant assertion that they weren’t sacrificed in vain in defense because of their simple love for the freedom and liberty of their families and nation to remain a free and independent people. It’s a defiant assertion of continued resistance to whatever fascist forces, who gave so little care or concern for the sanctity of life as to deny them their fundamentally-inherent right to live a long life as dignified, free human beings.

This sacred, holy memorial day first began in the United States at the end of the young country’s Civil War when brother against brother, and sister against sister, waged a ruthless, frenzied blood bath against one another; a heinous war, that killed more of its citizenry than in any war, before or since between them; between one side that held fast to a racist, apartheid belief, and the other side who didn’t, that human beings of one color, religion or political belief could forever hold in bondage, against their will, others who were simply of a different color, race or religious belief.

The Memorial Day Weekend ever since has become a time each year when people in most Western countries especially set aside a moment, put some meat on the grill, pop a can of brew, to reflect upon the lives of all those fallen loved who were prematurely taken away from them and once again remind themselves of the truism Freedom Isn’t Ever Free. It is meant as a time to further remind the still living of all those who still remain unfree and oppressed by whatever leader and his followers who consider still other peoples different than themselves who they hate and consider undeserving of the same untrammeled human rights they enjoy.

ISRAEL’S NEW PRIME MINISTER COULD BE A NIGHTMARE FOR PALESTINIAN FREEDOM

But where, during the current Memorial Day Weekend celebrations of koshered pickles and meats, does the still stifled freedom of some 5 million Palestinian innocent men, women and children fit into the celebrations; who still remain citizen-less, with no rights to their sacred traditional lands, run out like American Indians by the U.S. Cavalry, with no legal protection against Jewish Haganah squatters who invade their homes and murder without recourse. Where do they fit into the shadows of Israel’s still existent celebration of a seven decade-long outrageous occupation? Where does the current tentative ceasefire between Israeli IDF Armed Forces and Hamas Resistance Fighters come into it; especially if Benyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current PM, is on the verge, any minute, of being ousted by an anti-Netanyahu coalition headed by opposition leader Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid Party. Lapid already having offered to share power with Naftali Bennett, head of the Yamina Party, who has called for Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and would serve, at least until 2023, as Prime Minister under Israel’s new coalition of right-wing Zionist parties who will then select yet another new ultra right-wing nationalist Prime Minister, on a constantly rotating prime minister basis.

If this proves the case, the World, and especially the Palestinians need to know exactly who it is that very soon could be leading Israel, and the direction the entire Middle East and rest of the region, if not the world, will take in the future, based upon Naftali’s Bennett’s personal, political and religious background were he, in fact, to become the new PM. If so, his bio does not bode well for the prospects of either Palestinian statehood, for the citizenship and human rights of the Palestinian people or for the peace and security of the Middle East.

Naftali Bennett could prove, in fact, to be the Palestinian peoples worst nightmare, where, unless some dramatic change occurs to alter what seems an almost certainty, any possible One State or Two State Solution would be totally out of the question and Palestinian’s status as stateless, non-citizen captives, continually spied upon by IDF, Aman and Mossad forces, would be assured under even more severe draconian conditions, as Naftali’s background will reveal.

Naftali Bennett is a radical orthodox, ultra-nationalist Zionist Israeli, potentially perhaps to yet become in modern history one of the history’s most ruthless political-conqueror-ruler whose personality might better be described as befitting someone in-between a fascist Adolph Hitler, Benito Mussolini and corporate Jeff Bezos.

For Palestinians, instead of this moment of ceasefire being a Memorial Day to celebrate and honor the supreme sacrifices their countless fallen warriors have paid over the some 70 years in defense of their country of Palestine, it might perhaps also be observed as a national Palestinian Day of Mourning for the horrors not only that they’ve already been forced to endure in the past and present but most certainly will in the future under the total domination and ruthless control of an even more aggressive occupying alien government and army of conquerors under the direction of a Naftali Bennett. Especially given that the world body of ‘United Nations,’ up ‘til now, never has fundamentally cared enough about the welfare of Palestinians and their subjugation by colonizing orthodox Zionist Jewish settler-extremists to ever intercede on their behalf with either U.N. troops, some severe Boycott, Sanction, Divestment (BDS) action court action before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

When one critically examines PM Naftali Bennett’s political background and his many utterances concerning Occupied Palestine and Palestinian human rights it becomes patently clear how events on the ground will only continue to deteriorate and Palestinian’s will endure even more unimaginable suffering under the brute military, political and religious control by Jewish orthodox settler-extremists, under the aegis of Bennett and his radical Yamina Party and New Right Party’s rule.

When Naftali entered politics in 2006 he served as Netanyahu’s chief of Staff until 2008 and was touted to be Netanyahu’s chief protégé until they fell out with one another. In 2011, together with Ayelet Shaked, he co-founded the radical My Israel Party, an extra-parliamentary movement, and, in 2012, was elected party leader of ‘The Jewish Home Party’ until he defected to form the radical ‘New Right Party’. In 2012 he also founded a movement named Yisraelim that sought to increase Zionism among religious and secular communities. His Yesha Council also sought to defeat the standing ‘Settlement Freeze’ in Occupied Palestinian Territories. Previously, Bennett served as the: Minister of Diaspora Affairs, from 2013 to 2019; the Minister of Defense from 2019 to 2020, led the Jewish Home Party between 2012 and 2018 and the radical right New Right Party, until forming the Yamina Party that calls for Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank in violation of international law and the Oslo Accord. Since 2020, Yamina has been a political alliance of Zionist, right-wing parties, formerly configured as ‘The New Right’ and ‘union of Right-Wing Parties’ of the original ‘Jewish Home Party, Tkuma, and ‘Religious Zionist Party.

NAFTILA BENNETT MOVEMENTS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES & ISRAEL

Though born in Haifa, a former Palestinian settlement before it was conquered and the indigenous peoples expelled, Naftali is the son of Polish immigrants from the United States. Though Bennett was born in Israel he was born to American Jewish immigrants who were anti-war protestors at U.C. Berkeley before they moved to Israel from San Francisco in 1967, a month after the Six-Day War. His father’s Jewish roots come from Poland, Germany and the Netherlands; whereas his Polish maternal grandmother is a descendant of the Rappaport rabbinic family and Medieval Biblical commentator Rashi. His father was a successful real estate broker turned real estate entrepreneur and his mother was the deputy general of the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel’s northern program. In 1973 they returned to San Francisco and Natali’s father returned to Israel to fight with the IDF in the Yom Kipper War.

When Bennett was four, his family moved to Montreal for two years. When he was in the second grade his family again moved from Haifa back to the U.S. where they lived in New Jersey before the family again moved back to Haifa when he was ten.

Drafted into the IDF Army in 1990, Naftali later served as a company commander in its Commando Brigade’s prime special forces units Saveret Matkal and Maglan, that specialize in deep reconnaissance behind enemy lines and counter-terrorism. In the IDF’s Operation Grapes of Wrath, in which Bennett partook, Shite villages in Lebanon were intentionally bombarded with the aim of causing civilian casualties that would draw Syrian and Lebanese troops to concretely fight against Hezbollah. More than 1,100 air raids, and artillery bombardments of some 25,000 shells, that hit a UNIFL compound of refugees, led to the deaths of over 350 Israeli and Lebanese civilian refugees of innocent men, woman and children, that became known as the Qana Massacre, where as many as 500,000 Lebanese were displaced as a result. Bennett’s response to the charge that he was responsible for the massacre was that, as he arrogantly responded, “I am said to be responsible for the massacre in Kfar Kana. Heroism will not be investigated”

It is somewhat ironical that what Nazi Germany did to some of Bennett’s own relations in Poland, sending them to the gas chambers and ovens, or forcing them to run away for their very lives, is what he has played a similar yet different role in doing to Palestinians in Palestine.

NAFTILA’S PRONOUNCEMENTS ON THE ONE STATE-TWO STATE ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

Naftila Bennett published a plan in 2012, called “The Israel Stability initiative”, based on an earlier initiative by Adi Mintz, called “Peace on Earth”, that called for the universal annexation of the West Bank that Bennett prefers to call by its Biblical Hebrew names of ‘Judea’ and ‘Samaria’. Bennett has long opposed the creation of a Palestinian State and has often said so in the past, warning that the creation of a Palestinian state would be suicide for Israel and added, “I will do everything in my power to make sure they never get a state” (“The Settlers Move to Annex the West Bank – and Israeli politics”, the New Yorker, David Remnick, 01/21/2013)

Bennett instead outrageously has suggested that the international UN’s Oslo Accord be redefined by creating a tripartition of the Occupied Palestinians Territories. With so-called ‘Area C’ (annexation of the Gaza Strip), which constitutes 62% of the occupied area, to be transferred to Egypt under its control, with Palestinians offered only permanent residence status. While Area A and Area B would remain with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), but would be placed under the security of the IDF and Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence community: AMAN (military intelligence) and MOSSAD(foreign intelligence). This would accomplish, as Bennett puts it, “to ensure quiet, suppress Palestinian terrorism, and; prevent Hamas from taking over the territory”. Immigration for Palestinians now living outside of the West Bank would not be allowed though immigration for Jewish settlers to the West Bank apparently still would be allowed.

The otherwise opposite dream on the part of some Israelis and Palestinians to somehow find a way to work and live together, and achieve some level of peace between the two sides, also seems hopelessly in doubt if Bennett indeed becomes Israel’s new Prime Minister. Bennett seemingly remains unbending in his belief that Israel must simply learn to live with the Palestinian problem without a “surgical action” of separation between the two states.

Bennett previously stated in an anecdote he once recited, “I have a friend who’s got shrapnel in his rear end, and he’s been told that it can be removed surgically, but it would leave him disabled… So he decided to live with it. There are situations where insisting on perfection can lead to more trouble than it’s worth.” (“Bennett’s ‘shrapnel’ comment may have been blunt but his message was clear: No Two State Solution”, Haaetz, Yossi Verter, 6/21/2013).

In another interview in January 2013, Bennett further stated, “There is not going to be a Palestinian state within the tiny land of Israel…It’s not going to happen… A Palestinian state would be a disaster for the next two hundred years” (“There won’t be a Palestinian state within Israel”, The Guardian, Harriet Sherwood, 1/06/2013)

In November 2016 Bennett once again noted that the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States gave him hope that the two-state solution would no longer be considered viable, claiming, “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”

The long and the short of such citations is that, if Bennett or whatever right-wing Zionist becomes Israel’s new PM, whether it is to be Bennett’s master game plan or some other master plan by yet another right,-wing Zionist who will become the new Prime Minister, it will be game over, in any case, for the Palestinians who, in essence, will remain as inmates in their open air prisons in permanent ‘lockdown’, all but virtually state-less and landless, with no further aspirations for a free and independent Palestine possible.

In October 2016 Bennett said, “On the matter of the Land of Israel, we have to move from holding action to a decision. We have to mark the dream, and the dream is that Judea and Samaria will be part of the sovereign State of Israel. We have to act today, and we must give our lives. We can’t keep marking the Land of Israel as a tactical target and a Palestinian state as the strategic target.”

So, on this Memorial Day 2021, Let’s each of us probe the depths of our souls, our minds and our hearts, yet one more time, to ask ourselves, whether we are a Palestinian, Israeli or whomever, what peaceful, kind, forgiving, healing memory of some one person, place, event or moment we have had in our common relationships with one another as human beings who all wantt the same things for ourselves, our families and our communities. Let’s turn that memorial remembrance to the wisdom of what the philosopher Joseph Campbell seeks to remind us of in his:

“Reflections on the Art of Living”

When we talk about

Settling the world’s problems,

We’re barking up the wrong tree.

The world is perfect. It’s a mess

It has always been a mess.

We are not going to change it.

Our job is to straighten out

Our own lives.

Jerome Irwin is a Canadian-American writer who once upon a time in university was a Criminology student while working in one of America’s local police departments. For decades, Irwin has especially sought to call world attention to problems of environmental degradation and unsustainability caused by a host of environmental-ecological-spiritual issues that exist between the conflicting world philosophies of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples. Irwin is the author of the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a spiritual odyssey among the native peoples of North America that has led to numerous articles pertaining to: Ireland’s Fenian Movement; native peoples Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance Movement; AIPAC, Israel & the U.S. Congress anti-BDS Movement; the historic Battle for Palestine & Siege of Gaza, as well as; the many violations constantly being waged by industrial-corporate-military-propaganda interests against the World’s Collective Soul Email – jerome_irwin@yahoo.com


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