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The Moral Scandal of the Time

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The political and social nature of Zionism embraces a particular vision towards the Arab person in general, and the Palestinian person in particular, concerning his/her nature, culture and the existing relationship between this person and his/her homeland. This vision, however, contradicts the entire facts regarding the Arab person’s existence; in fact, Zionism and Arab existence stand in total contradiction to each other. This vision provides the fundamental basis for Zionist policy including land expropriation and displacement of people by brutal means, and is derived from mythology and past historical events.

The fundamental nature of Zionist ideology and culture manifests itself in three main ways: racism, aggression and expansionism. By this I mean, racism that considers the other as the enemy, and aggression as a natural consequence of racism which manifests itself through Israel’s continuous aggression against the Palestinian people. Finally, by expansionism I mean occupation, displacement and expatriation of the Palestinian people, destruction of villages, new plans for collective displacement (i.e., transfer pol icies), in addition to Israel’s aspirations for additional territory, and the creation of other new tragic realities on ground.

This ideology then must perjure and fabricate historical facts. This is done by advancing the notion of “A land without people” and moving towards the denial of any existing culture for the Palestinian people. It includes altering landmarks and names, and, finally, fabricating lies about the root causes of Palestinian displacement. This leads to the adoption of legislation that renders Palestinians who remain in their homeland into ‘absentees’ – i.e., present but non-existent.

This fabricated and misleading version of history claims that what happened in Palestine in 1948 was simply an Israeli war of independence. Unlike the Palestinian claim and recollection events, Israelis claim that the expatriation of Palestinians was basically a liberation and independence for the state of Israel. This ideology relies on a powerful allies such as Britain in the past, and now the United States (the steadfast wall). This is what I call “The Moral Scandal of the Time”. The right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland is a natural and sacred right. This right is codified in international law; it is not subject to a statute of limitations nor can it be extinguished. Justice cannot be established by denying the rights of others.

Yahya Yakhlef is the Palestinian Minister of Culture. This editorial originally appeared in Haq al-Awda (May 2004). Translation from Arabic by Rana Mousa.