By Dr. M. Reza Behnam

Israeli Zionists have always lusted after Palestine but loathed its people. Today is no exception.

Ever since the birth of organized Zionism in 1897, its adherents have been bent on establishing a Jewish majority on a land not theirs and populated with a Palestinian Arab majority.

Following the prison break of the Islamic Resistance Movement, also known as Hamas, Israel and the United States have repeatedly declared that they want to eliminate it. Unless they are willing to destroy an entire population, Hamas—inspired by the idea of liberation—cannot be destroyed.

If contextualized correctly, it becomes obvious that the Jewish state has been at war against the natives of Palestine and its demographics since it declared itself a state in 1948.

Hence, what we are currently witnessing in occupied Palestine is not only a war but a genocide, with children among its many casualties. The young are Palestine’s future. To permanently possess the land, Zionists are determined to kill the future.

A Palestinian child is killed or wounded every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip.

The enclave has one of the youngest populations in the world, half of whom are under 18. Of the 37,953 reported deaths (as of July 3, 2024), more than half have been children. Those who survive U.S.-made bombs face a bleak future.

Therefore, it is lunacy to believe that laying waste to a small, densely populated area the size of Las Vegas and killing and wounding hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, is the way to defeat Hamas.

Israel’s current policy is a continuation of the Zionist ideology on which the Israeli state was founded. And its intent is attested to in the words of the late Israeli general and prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

After proudly boasting that he had “killed 750 Palestinians in Rafah in 1956,” he went on to say, “I don’t know something called International Principles. I vow that I’ll burn every Palestinian child [that] will be born in this area. The Palestinian woman and child is [are] more dangerous than the man, because the Palestinian child’s existence infers that generations will go on, but the man causes limited danger.”

That the children of Gaza have been the target of Israel’s calibrated destruction has been affirmed by United Nations officials:

 “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.” – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, November 6, 2023.

“This is a war on children. It is a war on their childhood and their future.” Philippe Lazzarini, March 15, 2024.

“We have for many months called this a war on children” James Elder, spokesperson, UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF),June 17, 2024 .

UN “Children and Armed Conflict” report—Israel added to its “blacklist” of countries that commit grave violations affecting children in armed conflict, 3 June 2024.

Israel’s total blockade of Gaza has wreaked havoc on children. The International Criminal Court’s application for arrest warrants against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Yoav Gallant, in May 2024 for war crimes and crimes against humanity have not stopped the atrocities.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine—being live-streamed todayhas been systematically executed since the days of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion (1948-1953). The genesis of the plan to create a Jewish majority state through force, however, can be traced to Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky (1880-1940)—the ideological leader of the Revisionist Movement and Revisionist Party; antecedent of the current Likud Party.

Jabotinsky was among the earliest Zionist advocates of removal and armed force to suppress Palestinian national resistance, which he understood to be the inevitable consequence of colonization. He described his Revisionist beliefs—which gave form to the nascent Zionist state—in a 1923 essay titled, “The Iron Wall.” In it, he wrote:

 “Every native population in the world resists colonists….As long as the Arabs feel that there is the least hope of getting rid of us, they will refuse to give up this hope in return for kind words or for bread and butter, because they are not rabble, but a living people. And when a living people yields…it is only when there is no longer any hope of getting rid of us, because they can make no breach in the iron wall.”

Steeped in Jabotinsky’s ideology, Israel’s leaders have faithfully carried out the policy of force he framed in his Iron Wall doctrine; believing as he did that “We are going in [to] Palestine first, for our national convenience, [second] to sweep out, thoroughly, all traces of the Oriental soul.”

Finally, Palestinians in Gaza on October 7, 2023, refused to remain imprisoned behind Israel’s “iron wall” one more day, as Jabotinsky theorized in 1923. And on that day, a people with a history in Palestine that spans four millennia refused to be disappeared.

It is hardly surprising that the current leaders of Hamas are graduates of Israeli prisons. Ismael Haniyeh, Chairman of the Political Bureau; Yahya Sinwar, political bureau leader in Gaza; and Mohammad al-Masri, better known as Mohammad Deif, leader of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. As children in Gaza, they grew up and learned to survive under oppressive Israeli occupation.

Palestinian children are in the crosshairs of Israeli bombs and bullets daily.

It is essential to remember Netanyahu’s speech of October 28, 2023, declaring Israel’s genocidal narrative for the ground invasion of Gaza. He did this by referencing the mythical Old Testament story of Amalek in which the Israelites were ordered to “smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

After nine dreadful months, the Tel Aviv regime continues to brutalize Palestinian children physically and psychologically. Generations of severely traumatized children, they believe, will pose little threat to their vision of Eretz Israel.

Humanitarian aid agency, Save the Children , reported on January 7, 2024 that more than ten children per day have lost one or both legs since Israel began its bombing blitz. has described children who have lost their hearing due to blasts and others who can no longer speak due to shock and trauma.

Israel’s crippling blockade and its current and prior bombardments of Gaza (2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2021, 2022-23) have left many of the surviving children devastated with severe PTSD.

Children who should be in school, playing with friends are now dodging bombs, losing loved ones, and being forced to flee through streets littered with rubble and corpses.

Some Palestinian children have been literally frightened to death. They have died from heart attacks brought on by fear from constant bombing, lack of rest and severe malnutrition. An estimated 19,000 of them have been made orphans. Unaccompanied children are registered as unknown or under the acronym WCNSF, wounded child with no surviving family.

Israel’s ongoing genocidal plan to erase Palestinians, Palestinian identity and their spirit is on full display. The regime in Tel Aviv believes that if it massacres “sufficient numbers” of the population, particularly children, it will kill the resistance. To that aim, its self-described “moral army” has wiped out entire families as well as families across generations.

It is the invincible spirit of Gaza’s children that Israel is determined to extinguish; a spirit that was evinced during the 16 January 2024 Eid al-Adha—the Muslim festival of sacrifice. Despite the devastation surrounding them, the children, led by Palestinian musicians, sang: “We are steadfast in Gaza, despite the siege. We are a strong and mighty people. They hit us with missiles and made our bodies into pieces. We die in Gaza with pride.”

In that spirit, a young Palestinian boy, who had been badly injured, was heard saying to his caregivers, “ I want to stay alive for my mother.”

Israel has also been destroying social support systems, like schools. Education has been a central pillar of Palestinian identity. It is viewed as a way to lift their communities and as a principal means of non-violent resistance against the occupation.

Before 7 October, more than 95 percent of children in Gaza, aged six to twelve, attended school and most graduated from high school. Despite the severity of blockades, wars and occupation, Gaza and the West Bank have had internationally high literacy rates.

The United Nations, in April 2024, expressed grave concern that Israel has been engaging in “scholasticide” in Gaza; a term that refers to the systematic and intentional effort to destroy an educational system and its infrastructure.

The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights noted that more than 80 percent of the schools have been destroyed or severely damaged. Additionally, all 12 universities and colleges in Gaza have been demolished; considered a war crime, by the 1998 Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court.

Palestinian educators, however, are trying to teach Gaza’s children any way they can—in makeshift tents or from a mobile classroom.

To destroy the cultural fabric of life in Palestine, Israel has bombed libraries, museums, archives, heritage sites, monuments, mosques, churches and even graveyards.

Israel has used its public school system to further the ideology and propaganda of Zionism. They have raised their young to see Palestinians as problems, sub-human and existential threats to national security. The educational system has groomed its children to be willing soldiers in its country’s campaign of terror and genocide in occupied Palestine.

Israeli indoctrination was clearly visible after the attack of 7 October. In November 2023, for example, an Israeli state-owned TV channel aired a three-minute video of Israeli children singing “patriotically” about the annihilation of Gaza and everyone living there. With scenes of Gaza’s destruction as background, they sang:

  “Autumn night falls over Gaza, planes are bombing destruction, destruction.

Look the IDF is crossing the line to annihilate the swastika bearers.

In another year there will be nothing there…. Within a year we will

annihilate everyone and then we will return to plow our fields….

We will show the world how we destroy our enemy.

We will remember the pretty and the pure (Israeli soldiers)….”

That Israeli soldiers have assimilated the racist values taught them has been visible in their numerous social media posts from Gaza in which they celebrate and cheer as they destroy homes and buildings, loot, and mock Palestinians.

It is important to note, that while the focus has been on Israel’s genocidal campaign to annex Gaza, its leaders have been actively working to do the same in the occupied West Bank.

Prior to the October prison break, Israel knew that it would face strong criticism if it proceeded with unilateral annexation of the West Bank. Since the United States has, however, essentially green-lighted Israel’s massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, the Netanyahu regime has felt unrestrained in acting similarly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Since then, the Israeli army and Zionist squatters have, for example, killed at least 553 Palestinians, including 133 children, in the West Bank. And in addition, as of 10 June 2024, over 5,200 Palestinians have been injured, including 800 children; more than a third by live ammunition.

To weaken Palestinian resolve, since 2000, more than 10,000 children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had been detained by the Israeli army, typically without charge or trial. Most often, they were arrested for stone-throwing. Since October, Israel has detained 640 minors; at least 250 remain in prison, where they are subject to atrocities such as torture, mental abuse, solitary confinement, strip searches and physical injuries.

Israel’s cruel and immoral behavior in Gaza and the West Bank has been well practiced over generations. The country has lived by force and intimidation that was charted by Jabotinsky a century ago. Preservation and expansion of the Jewish state, without Palestinians, has been its sine qua non and motivating force.

Predictably, Israel arrogantly believes that once it has established complete control and sovereignty over all of historic Palestine through genocide that it will be able to conduct business as usual in the world. It cannot. The Gaza genocide has awakened much of the world to its fraudulent history and invented “deed” to the land based on mythical bible stories.

– Dr. M. Reza Behnam is a political scientist specializing in the history, politics and governments of the Middle East. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

The post Stolen Land, Stolen Lives: Israel’s War on Palestine appeared first on Palestine Chronicle.

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