Ever since the founding of the Zionist state of Israel in Palestine in 1948, Israeli governments have been trying to make life as uncomfortable as possible for the indigenous Palestinian population. The aim has been to create the circumstances whereby Palestinians will leave their homeland, willingly or unwillingly, in what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls “the ethnic cleansing of Palestine”. That illegal and immoral process has been ongoing for more than sixty years. Such “transfer” of the Palestinians has, in fact, been going on since before the state of Israel came into being. More than three-quarters of a million Palestinians were driven from their homes before and after 15th May 1948 by Zionist forces, who went on to wipe more than 540 Arab towns and villages from the map. The Israeli town of Sderot, for example, lauded by Israel and its supporters for its stoicism in the face of rockets being fired from Gaza, was built on the ruins of the Palestinian village of Najd, whose 700 inhabitants were driven out by Jewish militias on 13th May 1948.
Not all expulsions have been carried out by military force; successive Israeli governments have passed racist laws to legalise their discrimination against Palestinians as part of their strategy to “cleanse” the state of non-Jews. This paper sets out the details of such existing and proposed laws and illustrates why the struggle for justice for Palestinians cannot be limited to those living under occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
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