Ramzy Baroud discusses the 100-year history of Jewish Zionism, which has resulted in a century of Palestinians being subjugated, killed, and forced off of their land. Palestinians have sometimes been criticized for not accepting the offer made at the time of the Balfour Declaration to keep about 45% of their land, with critics painting them as intransigent terrorists who refuse to negotiate reasonably or peacefully. Baroud explains how absurd it would be to imagine Americans, or any other people, meekly accepting the annexation of even 1% of their land, let alone over half of it. Today Palestinians have been left with much less than that 45%, and now the Netanyahu government is moving to take over even more of the West Bank in order to secure access to natural resources, land for settlements, and strategic military positions. Baroud believes that the Zionist project will not end until it has achieved the ethnic cleansing of every single Palestinian by whatever means necessary.
Discussed on the show:
- “100 Years of Shame: Annexation of Palestine Began in San Remo” (CounterPunch.org)
- Balfour Declaration
- “Opinion | Annexing the West Bank Would Hurt Israel” (The New York Times)
- The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
- Nation-State Law
Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist and is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: The Untold Story of Gaza and The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story. His new book is These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons. Follow Ramzy on Twitter @RamzyBaroud and read his work at RamzyBaroud.net.
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The following is an automatically generated transcript.
All right, y’all welcome it’s Scott Horton Show. I am the director of the Libertarian Institute editorial director of antiwar.com, author of the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. And I’ve recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003, all of which are available at ScottHorton.org. You can also sign up to the podcast feed. The full archive is also available at youtube.com/ScottHortonShow. All right, you guys. Time to welcome Ramzy Baroud back to the show here. Palestine. chronicle.com is the website and of course he’s the author of my father was a freedom fighter. And the latest is these chains will be broken. A Palestinian Oh sorry, Palestinians stories of struggle and defiance in Israeli prisons, and we republish almost everything he writes at anti war calm as well. Welcome back to the show. Ramsey How you doing?
Ramzy Baroud 1:13
I’m doing great. Thank you for having me, Scott.
Scott Horton 1:15
Very happy to have you here. interesting piece. 100 years of shame. annexation of Palestine began in San Remo. Well, where’s San Remo?
Ramzy Baroud 1:29
Well, San Remo is this beautiful dreamy town at the northern Italy, the Italian Riviera. And it has, you know it, despite the fact that it’s a very beautiful place. It is associated with one of the most sinister agreements ever signed regarding, you know, kind of post World War when arrangements that took place between the victorious countries and the idea behind it is to divide the spoils of the Ottoman Empire to various countries and Iraq and Syria were divided between the British and the French respectively. When Palestine was given to the Zionists, you know, no questions asked. And now what is the difference between San Remo and the Balfour Declaration? I mean, those who are history buffs who you know know that in 1917 Britain has already given Palestine or promised to the Zionists if they are to help Britain during World War One, and they did. So why is sanremo a big deal? Well, because Balfour was a mere promise by a country that did not even occupy Palestine at the time. San Remo was the so called international community will their version of the international community at the time Their agreement in their confirmation that the Balfour declaration is valid. And therefore, Palestine goes to designers. And that was almost exactly 100 years ago. At the time Palestinians were promised as they argued in the article ever so polite, the requesting, you know, from the this new Israeli state designed the state to be kind to its Arab inhabitants, exactly like the Balfour Declaration had requested that the inhabitants of Palestine should not, you know, should still enjoy certain civil rights and, and so forth. And, of course, nobody actually followed up on that. I mean, that’s, you know, just it wasn’t really a political commitment of any kind. It was just a gesture, but the actual actual political diktat was for policy To be transferred gradually to the Zionist movement, a discussion about Palestine only happened later, when the British began realizing that they kind of made a promise that it was very difficult for them to sustain our governments at the time with all of the, you know, deficiencies and problems resisted that not so many people in the international community, especially in the south, you know, looked favorably on some faraway Empire to grant a piece of land that doesn’t belong to a to another nation. So they began thinking about, well, maybe we can find some sort of an arrangement that would kind of make everybody happy. So Israel, you know, which wasn’t yet Israel was granted about 55% of Palestine, the arable land, the fertile land, the costs Cities and all of this. And the Arabs were to be given about 45% mostly the desert towns NACA in the in the south. That goes a coastal area and and what is now the West Bank and a little bit more naturally, Palestinians protested they mean, if someone comes and takes over the United States and and gives it to some other country, and then they say, Well, I’m going to give a portion of that country to the local inhabitants, you’re going to still find it ridiculous. Even if 1% of your country is annexed and giving to someone else, you will find this outrageous. The sad thing is that mainstream historians who kind of saw history from an Israeli point of view, blame the the Palestinians or the Arabs at the time by saying, well, we missed this historic opportunity. They should have accepted it See there would have been a Palestinian state by now. And of course, this is just not accurate, historically. It’s not accurate at all in the sense that, number one, no one would have accepted that arrangement under any circumstance at the time. Palestinians did not realize honestly that the international community is so was so weak willed and that the Arabs would betrayed them and turn their backs on them to this extent, and nobody could read what the future is gonna hold the actual power of the Zionist movement. And but the other important aspect in all of this is the fact that
the this promised Jewish State really had no intention of ever honoring that Palestinian state. demarcation anyway. And the proof to that is well, aside from the fact that the kind of the leader said it out loud, you know, Ben Gurion and Bagan and these others, but more importantly is that when the war of 1948 happened when the British indeed their mandate, so called mandate over Palestine, designers forces that wing to kind of take over the large spaces that were assigned to them by Western powers. They took a lot more than that. Right? So they will delve deeply into this suppose it Palestinian state, and they took over. Now, another important thing is that there were all sorts of mechanisms that were there to ensure that that Jewish state is going to be ready for its new status. So there was an administrative system there was a government in waiting, the British were really helping designers achieve everything they needed to achieve training their military, their armies and so forth. So that they could actually within you know, a moment’s notice they, they they create a state Well, what did the Palestinians have nothing, no preparedness, no army, no administrative systems. So it was just Really, as we say, just ink on paper, it was never really meant to be utilized in any way. And you know what? I’m gonna be a little bit you know, generous and add a fourth point here and say let’s say that our ancestral leadership made this terrible mistake and say no, we don’t want 45% of Palestine and they should have accepted it. Let’s just go with that. I agree with you. We had 72 years, 72 years, the anniversary of the neck pay is gonna be, or the destruction of Palestine in 1948 is coming in a week. We had 72 years for that historical mistake to be corrected, and Palestinians have been begging for their independent state. And there are all sorts of international resolutions that are backing the request. How come there hasn’t been enough will in the international community to make that happen? After The passing of all of these years.
Scott Horton 9:03
Well, it’s worth mentioning too, as Sheldon Richmond wrote about in his book coming to Palestine about how designers in 48 made a secret deal with the King of Jordan, so that he would take the West Bank so that the Palestinians wouldn’t even have a chance to build a state of their own. That was the first major setback there.
Ramzy Baroud 9:24
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this this point, you know, if there was really ever any intentions of giving the message, why were you conspiring with Jordan and and, and creating the kind of scenario that would allow the state to never ever actualize? Yeah.
Scott Horton 9:44
Well, in the heart of it, you know, Gaza, for whatever reason is, I mean, just because of, I guess, the size of the land, and it’s, you know, separated apart from Jerusalem and all of that. It’s the West Bank that gets, you know, the primary attention as the possible place where a Palestinian state would exist in, you know, in, in conjunction with Gaza at some point or something. But the idea was that East Jerusalem would be the capital of it. And I know that you’ve argued that it’s way too late for that if there ever was a possibility that that possibility expired A long time ago. But now we have the so called deal of the century from Donald Trump and Jared Kushner. And we have the renewed Netanyahu government, in alliance with his primary opponent Benny dance and they’re agreed that it’s time to go ahead and start to even start, go ahead and annex another major proportion of the West Bank, the entire Jordan River Valley, and essentially all the land where there’s not already a Palestinian town. All of Area C, I think is to be transferred over to their sovereignty and so I guess you know, fill in the finer points of that, as you understand them, please. And then, you know, I tell us where does that leave us here?
Ramzy Baroud 11:10
Well, Scott, I mean, we understand that colonialism is essentially theft. I mean, we have all of these fancy terminologies, we used colonialism, the colonization, annexation, so forth and so on. It’s it’s, you know, someone taking someone else’s land and ethnically cleansing their people and, you know, murdering them if they resist imprisoning, torturing in the process. It’s really all about that piece of land. That’s what I’m trying to say. It’s about the olive grove, the mountain that needs to be completely erased, and a road needs to be built, you know, access to natural resources, access to water. In the case of the West Bank, it’s really largely about the water because 30 of Israel’s water comes from the west. By Aqua fire, and so forth. So it’s really all about taking land away from Palestinians. Now, throughout the years, Israel has come up with all of these. And again, this is really not unique to Israel as a colonial power. It is something that old colonial powers have in common, which is constantly coming up with ideas of how do we take this land away from the people, but cleaning it in such a way that would allow us to do it, maybe in a polite fashion, or in a way that in our minds, at least, it’s defensible. So when they took over the West Bank in 1967, they said they were taking over the West Bank for strategic reasons. They were building settlements for strategic reasons. Then, eventually, when the Likud right wing party came to power in the late 70s. It became for religious and spiritual reasons, so they start taking over parts of Qalqilya To Kareem in the north, Janine, you know, so forth and so on Jericho, because of its proximity to Jordan, Israel has to be defensible. We need defense built, we need no go zones. We need no fire zones. We need military closed zones. And so and of course, areas were taken for natural expansion of the settlements, hey, our, our, our settlers, this illegal armed people who moved from Israel to the West Bank, I mean, they they breed, they have children, they have families, they have, you know, these families grow and therefore their needs, for housing, their need for agriculture, their need for water that grows as well. So they began expanding and so forth and so on. Now, this is the latest and in my opinion, one of the final strokes. That design is colonialist our project is trying to enact and that is annexation. So is no difference whatsoever, really in my mind between any of these pretenses, but annexation has this kind of slightly different quality, which is okay, I could add ons, I officially occupied. But now I need to translate this into something that I keep for good. So that’s, you know, essentially what annexation is it means it’s now part of my territory legally per my own law. Right. Um, annexation is something they have been talking about for many years. This precedes Netanyahu and Benny ganz and all of this. It just they never had the the right political environment that would allow them to do so US administration with with all of their prejudices and blind moral unconditional support for to Israel all these years. always kind of found the issue of annexation of the West Bank troubling. Yes, the annex two Wouldn’t when Israel annexed Jerusalem. They supported the Congress supported that the administration supported that, but they said we’re not gonna agree to it yet, until an overall peace agreement is reached between the Palestinians and the Israelis. So that kind of, you know, Jerusalem had this precarious status as far as they are concerned. But the West Bank, in particular, the various us administration’s kind of warned against what they call unilateral steps taken by any party, including Israel. So Israel continued to cement its occupation to build settlements using American money, mind you, but it has not yet officially annexed any part of the West Bank. Now, the fact that the US administration is telling Israel pompeyo said it out loud. He said, this is your business really more or less, you know, you want to annex you and it’s the timing is your timing and the schedule is yours. And the There is more or less consensus within Israel, that it’s time for annexation. Arabs are so busy with the terrible wars in Libya and and Syria and Yemen. The Saudis are giving the nod anyway, the Emiratis don’t really care. And these are the people with the money in the region. They are the people who are making things happen. In fact, they are normalizing with Israel during this time. And the person authority is then they have no money. They have no money, and they don’t have any political power really, aside from symbolic speeches and gestures that the United Nations. So what will happen? And here’s the question that the Israeli government has been asking itself, we have been wanting to do this for decades, and we will never ever have a better opportunity to annex than this Why shouldn’t we? So not only the right wing in Israel is believing in that but also the center and parts of the left saying, you know, it’s time it’s now or never So, when they talk about annexation, they are talking about over a third of the overall size of the West Bank and the entirety of the Jordan Valley. Some people are saying this could actually be the very final move of designers colonials project, I think, I think not. I think they will not be happy even to see Palestinians with this tiny, tiny pockets of population, they need to find a way to restrict their movements to create more or no go zones and so forth and so on. I think the ultimate aim of Zionism is the complete ethnic cleansing of Palestine and this is actively happening anyway.
Scott Horton 17:39
Yeah now so I don’t know if you saw this thing by Daniel pipes noted right wing neoconservative Hawk who said that this is the wrong thing, because I guess, you know, wherever however he prioritizes it, you know, possessing Judah and Sue Marissa as they Call it is not so important to him what is important to him is keeping a Jewish superduper majority inside so called Israel proper 8020 or exactly whatever the percent is now and as he puts it sorry but this is inviting the enemy into the country by essentially expanding the border around them without expelling them and right so it’s a suicidal move from that point of view
Ramzy Baroud 18:31
right and I you know, Daniel pipes and I had our you know, thing in the past were his crazy organizations that attacked me and my work and then I surprise Yeah, as you know, he’s a notorious Zionist, but I found that article particularly interesting, Scott in the sense that I did not know that the nature of conflict within design is movement you know, regarding annexation and things to Palestine is actually that evolved in the sense that, yes, we want the land, but we don’t want the people that has always been the arrangement from 1948, even before 1940. I mean, not like Zion is colonialism started in 1948, too. So there’s been a lot of ethnic cleansing, a lot of conflicts and skirmishes that happened before that that particular date. Until today, there’s always been this issue that we annex, even if it’s a tiny little piece of land and a former family and somewhere in the northern West Spang You know, they’re not going to take his land and keep the guy in there, they take the land and they kick the family out. That’s how it works. And now you’re talking about annexation, and and and keeping the people and, and the reason that that part branch of Zionism is thinking this way is back to my point, because there is this golden opportunity to animals that might not be repeated, but annexation in you know, historically in In Israel Palestine happened or occupation or colonialism happened in a much more incremental way, if I want to take over something I need to make a plan 1015 2030 years in advance in order for me to kick the people out gradually, but, but Trump is not gonna be here forever, isn’t gonna be here for 30 years, how do I guarantee once Trump is, is gone, you know, at the end of the year or five years from now, that opportunity is still gonna be there. So I’m willing to make an exception. You know, I’m speaking as an attendee right now, I am willing to make an exception. I am going to annex and worry about ethnic cleansing later. Other signal No, you need to worry about ethnic cleansing now, and then annex data. And I think once that annexation happens, and I think it’s gonna happen, and I was, I made that argument even before the Israelis settled their own differences, that it will happen because from from the, you know, exploitative nature of Zionism, you just don’t miss this kind of opportunity. And there’s no resistance Unfortunately, on the part of the Palestinian leadership that is actually measurable and tangible in any way. So they will. But once that is settled, there is going to be the question, now we annexed, the ratio of the population changed, what they called the demographic bomb is now much bigger than it was before. So what do we do? Do these do these people become become voters? You know, I mean, they are already dealing with the issue that the joint list the unified our parties within Israel are now the third largest political force in the country. can they afford adding hundreds of thousands to that? You know, so what do you do with this situation? And I think once annexation happens, the conversation is going to start switching to population, what they call population transfer, you know, essentially ethnic cleansing.
Scott Horton 21:52
Yeah, so then the question is, did they build a railway and transfer the people of the West Bank to the Goddess strip or do they push them all to drown in the Jordan River or March them into the Sinai desert and claim that they belong to Egypt now, or what do you think?
Ramzy Baroud 22:11
Well, they I mean, they’ve done all of these things before, you know, more or less. I mean, there’s always been this consent process. And I
Scott Horton 22:17
guess there’s nobody to stop them from doing this. Right?
Ramzy Baroud 22:20
Right. This is what Elan Pepe referred to as incremental genocide. Israeli historian, excellent book, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. So this ethnic, that this incremental genocide has been happening for many, many years. So so will that be an option? Now? I think the are the main danger, in my opinion is for the for Israel to find that Palestinian who, you know, they could impose as the leader after Mahmoud Abbas dies, Mahmoud Abbas is in his mid 80s at this point. So, so the question is, can we find that Palestinian leader who is willing to To accept an Israel imposed arrangement, and kind of allow for so called population transfer to happen as part of a supposedly deal. I’m not really worried that the Palestinian people themselves are going to change their own perception of their own struggle. Because for them, it really doesn’t matter. In fact, in Palestine, the don’t even cook, they don’t even differentiate. We don’t have terminologies. I mean, yes, academically we do between colonialism, annexation, occupation, and so forth and so on. But in the everyday language that people use in the street is just Zionism, being Zionism and stealing their land. So as long as Palestinians continue to perceive that process, the same there is resistance is not going to change. But the real danger will normalization between Israel and Arab countries happen, continue to happen afoot and using and bribing certain Palestinians to be part of Have that arrangement? Could that change the formula for Israel? And and I think this is this is the, this is the issue to look for, in within the Palestinian context of the story.
Scott Horton 24:13
Yeah, I mean, they’d be crazy to try to do a big mass Paul Graham all at once, but I guess they could try to just piecemeal it out and say, well, we’re gonna consolidate the people from this town have to now move all to Hebron and then we’ll get to removing the people from Hebron later on that kind of thing.
Ramzy Baroud 24:31
Right and, and just that also reminds me of another thing, there is an there’s another method that they usually create in order for this to happen, or, because once you have a war, it becomes a lot easier to exact fundamental changes in this sort of thing. You know, demographic changes, ethnic cleansing, and nobody is actually paying attention to the ethnic cleansing. Everybody is talking about the war. So for example, in northern Syria, when Aleppo was being contested by the parties. Yeah, we spoke about the refugees, but it was almost like a side note, hundreds of thousands of people were fleeing all at once, it was a side note, everybody was actually talking about the word itself. So Israel is very good at creating this kind of, of conflicts and, and dictating the discourse. We know their relationship with American and other Western mainstream media, dictating the discourse and blaming it on Palestinian terrorists who are doing this and that, and then then when people are being pushed out, you know, it’s gonna be understood and written in in media and history, that, you know, these people were basically pushed out because of, you know, a war that was ignited by Palestinian terrorists. And so that’s another option. They are always very good at manufacturing, these fake conflicts out of nothing in order for them to achieve political ends. Yep.
Scott Horton 25:56
And, you know, as long as the American media especially is willing To go along with the framing that whatever the Israelis are doing is always on the defensive, then that’s the market that really matters.
Ramzy Baroud 26:08
Scott Horton 26:09
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Ramzy Baroud 28:26
Well, so yeah, I mean, as a one state or someone who’s been advocating, you know, coexistence in one state, similar to the post apartheid South Africa model. Yes, of course, there is an opportunities point that we have been pushing for many years, that ultimately no matter what you’re doing Israel, you keep slicing up people and territories and areas and playing politics and doing all of this. At the end of the day. You are Israelis were Palestinians and we are still living in this area between the Jordan River And and the see, you know, no matter what kind of strange laws you keep manufacturing, to prolong the divisions, at the end of the day, we are still there and our numbers are growing and nothing you have done to dissuade us or to ethnically cleanse the land. It hasn’t changed. I mean to really think about it from, you know, just a recent political example the fact that our parties are the third largest force in the country, despite of everything that they have done despite the racist nation state law that defines Israel by its Jewishness and denies Palestinian rights and Arab culture and language and everything you still have the third largest political force in Israel Arab, it’s actually much larger than the Labour Party that essentially created Israel. It comes to show you that all of this nonsense is not gonna work. You can’t do it. It can’t be done. That you are gonna kick, you know, six, 7 million people out and take over their land, they keep coming back, they keep growing the heap. So this is not gonna happen. So of course, they’re not going to annex the West Bank in the Jordan Valley with this idea that, hey, maybe we should give them equal rights and, and give them a, you know, kind of make them part of the state, they will come up with all sorts of sinister ideas, you know, to make the demographics work for them. Right, but they will always fail, they will always fail because they have really failed when they had much greater opportunities to ethnic in 1948 alone, the ethnic cleansing 800,000 people and they still failed. You know, they can’t just go and dump a million Palestinians to do them. I mean, that’s not gonna happen at this point that the Jews, the Palestinians will not leave in the Jordanians will not take them. You know, they were hoping that Palestinians in Gaza would leave to Sinai and and and that did not happen. In fact, at one point, Palestinians were suffering so much under the siege and they were out of food and supplies. And then they managed to actually breach the wall between Gaza and, and and Egypt. And hundreds of thousands of people rush to Sinai. And people like me were watching is like, Oh my goodness, the Zionist plot has finally work to the push Gazans into Sinai. This happened few years ago. And guess what happened, they went and they shopped. They bought food and medicine. And every single person was counted for except of about 200 students who managed to get to Egypt and two other places to go to get to the university. So this generation has learned so much from the mistakes of the previous generations. Neither the Arabs will accept having that kind of new refugee crisis nor the Palestinians will even allow this to happen. So it’s really the goal is now in the Israeli record. They are going to continue to play you know, games with numbers and math. But eventually they will fail. They will fail because they have already done so for over 70
Scott Horton 32:05
years. All right, you guys that’s Ramsey brood. He said original.antiwar.com slash Ramsey dash brood, and of course at Palestine Chronicle calm his latest book is edited by him. It’s these chains will be broken Palestinian stories of struggle and defiance in Israeli prisons. Thank you very much again Ramsey.
Ramzy Baroud 32:29
Thank you for having me, Scott and keep up the good work man.
Scott Horton 32:32
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