The Israeli knowledge of and outlook on Palestinians
The following is an excerpt of an article by Miko Peled, born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. Miko’s grandfather, Dr. Avraham Katsnelson was a Zionist leader and signer on the Israeli Declaration of Independence:
Since my father was a general and I served as a soldier in the IDF terrorist organization, people often ask me how is it that Israeli children who are raised in a Western style democracy become such monsters once they are in uniform?
The short answer is this: Education – Racism requires a mindset that is fashioned by education. In order to rationalize and justify the ethnic cleansing the Israeli education system portrays Palestinians as culturally inferior, violent and bent on the annihilation of the Jews, and at the same time, void of a true national identity. Palestinian national identity is but a figment of some anti-Semitic imagination.
Israeli children are educated to see the Palestinians as a problem that must be solved and as a threat that must be eliminated. They can go through life, as I did growing up in Jerusalem, without ever meeting a Palestinian child. They know nothing of the life or culture of Palestinians who quite often live only several hundred meters from them.
Palestinians are portrayed as an existential threat through absurd comparisons like that of Yasser Arafat to Hitler, the Palestinians to Nazis, and the Palestinian resistance to Al Qaeda. Since Israeli kids never meet Palestinians what they learn in school, particularly in the school textbooks, is all that they know.
According to a new book by Dr. Nurit Peled-Elhanan, not a single photo of a person who is a Palestinian exists in Israeli textbooks and there are millions of Palestinians in and around Israel. Israelis don’t learn about Palestinian doctors and teachers, engineers and writers. They don’t learn Palestinian poetry or prose and they don’t read the works of Palestinian historians.
Israelis don’t know that Palestinians never had an army, that they do not possess a single tank, a single warship or fighter jet, that they don’t have a single artillery battery and do not in fact pose a military threat at all.
At a recent lecture I mentioned the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and someone called out: “What ethnic cleansing?” People are unaware of the ethnic cleansing taking place in Palestine because Israel hides it well and the mainstream media doesn’t care enough to ask. But for the past 64 years ethnic cleansing of Palestine is what drives the Zionist policies towards Palestinians. Had these same crimes been committed against Israeli Jews they would have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is only a small part of the Israeli Palestinian issue. The greater issue is the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the Zionist state.