In the previous chapter, we examined the Zionists' view that the Jews' return to Palestine is a "holy goal" and that the war launched to reach this goal would be a "holy war." This idea plays an important role in the Israelis' education. In fact, prominent Israeli leaders sometimes express their view that children should be required to undergo a "Zionist" education. For example, the Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat announced on one of the most violent days of the al-Aqsa Intifada that "the country's children would henceforth be required to receive a Jewish-Zionist education" and that "Schools were part of the internal security of the state of Israel."27 The Old Testament has a special place in this education system, which the Zionists designed to focus upon certain verses. The book recalls with pride the acts of brutality inflicted (or allegedly inflicted) by the Children of Israel, led by Joshua, upon the native Palestinians. In his classic The Case of Israel: A Study of Political Zionism, Roger Garaudy explains the attitude like this: According to Israeli authorities, children must be indoctrinated with Zionist ideology from a very young age. As a result, children are raised to believe that they belong to a superior race. The Israeli soldiers' brutal treatment of Palestinians is a direct result of this indoctrination. The Book of Joshua, so often invoked today by the army rabbinate in Israel in order to preach holy war, and also made much of in schoolteaching, dwells upon the sanctified extermination of conquered populations, putting everyone to "the edge of the sword" - "both man and woman, yound and old" (Joshua, vi, 21) - as we read in the story of Jericho and of so many other cities.28 The behavior exhibited by Israeli soldiers raised with such ideas is consistent with this attitude. Today in occupied Palestine, some dreadful scenes have become part of everyday life: 18-month-old babies dying in their beds when their houses are attacked by Israeli helicopter gunships, young girls working in the olive groves being shot and killed for no reason, and children returning home from school being wounded and permanently disabled. The Zionist education system is at the root of these inhuman, and all-too-common, episodes. Research shows that this education and brainwashing has been extremely effective. In a test conducted by Tel Aviv University psychologist G. Tamarin, a statement describing the Jericho massacre from the Old Testament's Book of Joshua was distributed to fourth- and eighth-grade students. They were asked: "Suppose the Israeli Army occupies an Arab village in a battle. Do you think it would be proper, or not, to act against the inhabitants as did Joshua with the people of Jericho?" The number who answered "Yes" varied between 66% and 95%, according to the school attended or the kibbutz or town where the children lived.29 Garaudy emphasizes that the Book of Joshua and the Old Testament in general are the source of Zionist terror: This conception of the "promise", together with the means for its realisation (as the leaders of political Zionism derive these from the Book wherein Joshua recounts his feats of extermination of the previous inhabitants, which he carried out at God's command and with his support), plus the themes of "the chosen people" and of "Greater Israel", from the Nile to the Euphrates, constitute the ideological foundation of political Zionism.30 Israeli sharp-shooters fire on unarmed Palestinian civilians, women and children included. The memoirs of an Israeli soldier published in the Israeli newspaper Davar are an important example of this. The soldier in question participated in an operation to seize the Palestinian village of Ed-Dawayma in 1948, and described the scenes of brutality he witnessed: They killed between eighty to one hundred Arab men, women, and childhe children, they (soldiers) fractured their heads with sticks. There was not one home without corpses. The men and women of the village were pushed into houses without food or water.
Then the saboteurs came to dynamite them. One commander ordered a soldier to bring two women into a building he was about to blow up... Another soldier prided himself upon having raped an Arab woman before shooting her to death. Another Arab woman and her baby were made to clean up the place for a couple of days, then they shot her and the baby. Educated and well-mannered commanders who were considered "good guys" ... became base murderers, and this is not in the storm of battle, but as a method of expulsion and extermination. The fewer the Arabs who remain, the better.31 This is just one of the many brutal episodes that have occurred over the last 50 years. Before the Israeli government was founded, the Haganah, Irgun, and Stern gangs were responsible for removing Palestinians from their lands. These terrorist organizations prior to 1948, and the Israeli army after 1948, conducted a terrorist campaign on Arab civilians. Menachem Begin, the Irgun's leader and a future prime minister, explained their strategy: "The Arabs fought tenaciously in defense of their homes, their women and their children."32 In other words, the Zionists' war would be waged against innocent people. The truth is that since that date, the Palestinians have struggled to protect their homes, women, and children from Israel's official policy of terrorizing the entire Palestinian people. Newspaper reporter and Middle East expert Flora Lewis explains Israeli-style brutality in this article in the International Herald Tribune: Israeli officials have now publicly acknowledged a policy of "targeted attacks" on Palestinians believed to be involved in terrorism. These are planned assassinations, quite rightly called "criminal acts... murder" by Moshe Neghi, a respected Israeli journalist... Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh said on the radio that the policy was unequivocal. "If anyone has committed or is planning to carry out terrorist attacks, he has to be hit... It is effective, precise and just."33 EXECUTION ON THE STREET... For Israeli soldiers, all Palestinians are targets. They do not care whether the person in their sights is a child, a woman, or an elderly man or woman. Palestinians sometimes encounter Israeli bullets at checkpoints, in the markets, or while just standing on the corner or sleeping in bed. AND SLAUGHTER TURKIYE-Turkish Daily, 7.8.01 BLATANT EXECUTION GOZCU, Turkish Daily, 19.5.01 ISRAEL BOMBS THE CITY OF GAZA MILLI GAZETE-Turkish Daily, 18.5.01 PALESTINE IS BURNING Attacking with helicopters, tanks and bulldozers, Israel has set light to Palestinian lands. TURKIYE-Turkish Daily, 13.10.01 Israel Rains Down Missiles PALESTINE AWASH WITH BLOOD THE MUSLIM OBSERVER, 2.2002 THE INDEPENDENT, 12.2002 W. REPORT, 4-5.1993 CRESCENT INT., 16-31.8.01 Hardly a day goes by when innocent blood is not spilled in Palestine. Israeli soldiers are systematically destroying the Palestinian people. Villages are bombed, homes are demolished, and fields are burned. While this cruelty appears in the world press from time to time, it has, sadly, not been enough to move world leaders to action. An article in Crescent International clearly presents this situation when it states: "Palestinian deaths mount as Israelis given freedom to commit