Sunday, March 2, 2008
Rami Almeghari, The Electronic Intifada, 2 March 2008
"Following Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai's Friday warning that the Gaza Strip faces "a holocaust" if homemade rocket fire continues, Vilnai's aides rushed to downplay the remarks, claiming the minister did not mean a holocaust exactly.
However, the following day, the Israeli army, through ground forces and helicopters in the sky, killed 61 Palestinians in Gaza, at least ten of them children. Since Wednesday, 26 March, Israeli occupation forces have killed at least 77 Palestinians in Gaza and injured approximately 130, including children who won't live to see their first birthday.
Vilnai's racist declarations against the Palestinian people are certainly not the first from a high-ranking official in the allegedly democratic state of Israel.
Last Thursday, 28 February, Israeli cabinet minister Meir Sheetrit said that the solution to the rocket fire would be for Israel to "hit everything that moves with weapons and ammunition." Earlier in the month, during a cabinet session Sheetrit stated that "exactly what I think the [Israeli army] should do [is] decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it."
Genocidal statements calling for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians are not reserved for those in Gaza, however. The extreme rightist Yisrael Beitenu party leader and former Deputy Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was born in Moldova and immigrated to Israel at the age of 20, advocates for the "transfer" or ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinian citizens in Israel and has declared that Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset who meet with Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza should be executed as traitors.
Before Lieberman was Rehavam Ze'evi, the assassinated Israeli tourism minister and founder of the fascist Moledet party which makes the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians part of its party platform. Regarding the 180,000 Palestinian laborers from the West Bank and Gaza working for substandard wages in Israel before the state imposed a total closure, Ze'evi described them in a 2001 radio interview as "a cancer" and advocated that "[Israel] should get rid of the ones who are not Israeli citizens the same way you get rid of lice."....."