The Israeli Assault on Gaza is the Palestinian Kristalnacht


The Holocaust began in Germany on Kristalnacht when over 90 Jews were killed, more than 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps (where over 1,000 died of mistreatment before the remainder were released) thousands of Jewish shops, homes and offices and more than 200 synagogues were destroyed in a government sanctioned riot by brown shirt thugs.


This was in response to the murder in Paris of a German diplomat Ernst von Rath who was shot and killed by seventeen year old Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish Jew.Grynszpanís parents emigrated from Poland to Hannover in Germany in 1911.After World War I they became Polish citizens.


In March 1938 Poland passed a law depriving Polish citizens of their citizenship who had lived continuously abroad for more than five years: this was explicitly intended to prevent the 70,000 Polish Jews living in Germany and Austria returning to Poland.In August 1938 the German authorities announced that all residence permits for foreigners were being cancelled and would have to be renewed: it was obvious that Jews would not be given new permits.Poland, however, said that it would not accept Jews of Polish origin after the end of October.


On October 26th, to beat this deadline, the Gestapo was ordered to arrest and deport immediately all Polish Jews in Germany.


The Grynszpans were among the estimated 12,000 Polish Jews arrested, stripped of their property and herded aboard trains headed for Poland.When they got to the border they were forced to walk two kilometers to the Polish border town of Zbaszyn.There, however, Poland refused to admit them.The Grynszpans and thousands of other Polish-Jewish deportees were left stranded at the border, fed only intermittently by the Polish Red Cross and Jewish welfare organizations.It was from Zbaszyn that Herschelís sister sent a post card asking for him to send money.


Herschel, who was an illegal immigrant living with his uncle in Paris, was so upset by the post card and the condition of his family and other Jews that he took his last money, bought a gun and killed Von Rath.


Now, letís compare Herschel Grynszpanís story to the story of the Palestinians in Gaza.They were expelled from their homes sixty years ago and have been living as stateless people on charity on the border of Israel and Egypt, neither of which wants them; just like the Polish Jews on the border with Poland seventy years ago.Repeated promises of statehood, freedom and democracy have come to nothing.Even Arabs living in Israel have second class rights.


Two years ago, Hamas came to power in a democratic election.Israel, with the full support of the Bush Administration, refused to recognize the results of the election and collectively punished the Palestinians living in Gaza by closing its borders and only permitting humanitarian supplies to enter because Hamas refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel.


Blockade is an act of war.It was the closing of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt in 1967 that provided the excuse for Israelís attack on the Arabs in the Six Day War.So, when Israel is blockaded it is legitimate self-defense for it to strike first at its adversaries.Thatís how Israel obtained the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza.But when Gaza, the historical crossroads of the African and Asian continents, is blockaded by Israel and Egypt and turned into a concentration camp of stateless people, that is considered legitimate self-defense by the neo-cons and right wing Israelis.This can be proved just by finding the Israels who really think the solution to the Palestinian problem is to exterminate them.


So, Hamas and the Palestinians in Gaza have dug some tunnels and built some rockets and fired them at Israel and they have killed a few people, but mostly they have been a nuisance. Just as Germany planned Kristalnacht long in advance and used the von Rath murder as an excuse to unleash it, Israel planned the attack on Gaza months ago and just seized on the excuse of the rockets to attack. So, Israel attacks Gaza, killing 1,285 people, 250 of whom are children, wounding 5,500, destroying $2 billion worth of mosques, houses, businesses, and government buildings.The Israelis lost 13 people, three civilians, and ten soldiers.Four of the soldiers were killed by Israeli fire.So, basically the proportion was 1,000 dead and injured Palestinians for every dead Israeli.


Just as Herschel Grynszpanís act of violence was borne of systematic discrimination and oppression, the response of Hamas and the Palestinians is the same.So, if Israel really wants peace (which it doesnít) it has to face the truth about the nature of the Jewish State and come to terms with the people from whom they stole the land and are stealing the water.


The one difference between the Israelis and the Nazis is that even though their behaviors are identical, the Israelis know what they did was wrong which is why they are now scrambling to protect the commanders and officials from the possibility of arrest and prosecution abroad for war crimes.


Israelís attack on Gaza is a replay of Kristalnacht, down to the reason for itís cause; and itís not going to go away because all the children who have lost limbs and been traumatized are going to be around for decades to sue the Israeli government for compensation.Like the Nazis, Israelís superior technological strength has enabled it to fight its way into an untenable position.The reason for this is that Israelís army is a state within a state, it can fight, but it canít negotiate.


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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf