This piece originally appeared in Middle East Monitor and is republished with permission.
On 27 November, 1095, almost one thousand years ago, Pope Urban II exhorted European kings, princes and dukes to drop their quarrels and wage a Crusader war to liberate the Holy Land from its mostly Muslim population. “Set out on the road to the Holy Sepulchre [in Jerusalem], take the land from that wicked people, and make it your own,” he told them.
They duly obeyed, and stayed for a couple of hundred years. Wherever they went, the sword was their tool and “infidel” blood was their language. When they entered Jerusalem, the blood of the slaughtered inhabitants is said to have come up to their knees. In Acre, when the friendly Christian inhabitants greeted them, the Crusaders thought they were Muslims because of their white robes, and butchered them.
Those Crusaders are long gone, but their bloody legacy is remembered. Indeed, their heirs and successors are still lusting for “infidel” blood in occupied Palestine; and Palestinian Christians are not spared their slaughter.
European leaders have fallen over each other to pay tribute to Zionist Israel and offer their weapons, aircraft and ships to allow the new Crusaders to satisfy their 21st Century bloodlust. The compliant Western media has been handed over on a plate to spread black propaganda, vilify and, especially, dehumanise the Palestinians defending their homes, making it more “acceptable” for their slaughter to continue unimpeded.
They arrived in droves. The UK’s Indian-heritage Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has carried out cynical PR visits to Jewish communities in England, and sent Foreign Minister James Cleverly to show support for the Zionists, sweeping under the carpet 300 years of British brutality in foreign lands, including the Amritsar massacre in India, of course, and the UK’s disgraceful betrayal of the people of Palestine from the 1917 Balfour Declaration onwards. President Emmanuel Macron came from France, the former colonial power with the blood of one million Algerians on its hands. The land of “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality” suffocated many of them with poison gas in caves, or threw them from helicopters into the sea. Those from Brussels arrived in our land drenched in the blood of millions of Africans as their colonial legacy. And from the Netherlands came the descendants of the Afrikaners who developed the abhorrent Apartheid system in South Africa which is now seen in colonial Israel.
We mustn’t forget the latecomer to colonialism, the United States of America. Its record is arguably the bloodiest of them all: 1.5 million Vietnamese killed; 1m Iraqis; tens of thousands of Afghans; the list goes on. The Crusader US has sent an aircraft carrier naval strike group to our shores and is flying weapons and phosphorus bombs to replenish the stocks of its proxy, Israel. All of this is because 1,500 young refugees in a Gaza concentration camp last week dared to break out of their prison, attack the settler-colonial squatters on their land and try to return home.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has proclaimed proudly that he is a Jew whose grandfather escaped death in Europe’s Nazi concentration camps. He failed to explain why he is not fighting the far-right extremists in Israel today, the political heirs of those who killed millions of Jews and tried to kill his grandfather. Or why he is gathering the US to attack innocent people who never saw his grandfather. Or why he is instead supporting the people bombing and killing those innocent people as, no doubt, his grandfather was innocent. It is an act of cowardice to side with the aggressors and turn against largely unarmed civilians and butcher them.
It is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have faced an existential threat for 75 years and counting.
And the Zionists have an appalling record of butchering the Palestinians and others. They committed 356 war crimes, including 90 massacres, in 1948-1949 alone, after the creation of their state, Israel. They went on to depopulate 560 Palestinian towns and villages and wipe them from the face of the earth. It is the Palestinians, not the Israelis, who have faced an existential threat for 75 years and counting. Israeli aggression has never stopped; it is ongoing after 27,000 days, during which the conscience of European “civilisation” has been in a deep coma.
The new Crusaders, including the US, have waged a black propaganda war against refugees, who tried to rise from the concentration camp and return home, as is their right under international law. They spread the despicable lie that the resistance fighters “beheaded” babies and raped women. They retracted the claims, but the damage was done. Palestinians are seen to be inhuman and thus deserve to be killed. Gullible, ignorant people accept this and turn a blind eye. Reasonable people don’t; they continue to seek justice for the Palestinians.
The irony of this propaganda is that this is precisely what the Zionist terrorists did on 13 May 1948. They attacked the village of Abu Shusha, in Ramleh district, and killed many Palestinians in their homes, in the streets and in the fields. One soldier held a woman with her child in one corner and split the child’s head with an axe. “Go and tell the others what happened,” he told her. Rapes by Zionists are recorded in their own books, including those written by pro-Israel historian Benny Morris.
Israel created 17 concentration and forced labour camps in Palestine in 1948-1953 in which captured farmers were held and put to work as slave labour. That was only three years after such camps were closed in Germany. The evidence for this can be found in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the testimony of survivors.
The Gaza concentration camp has exceeded in duration and size those of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Dachau before they were liberated. Gaza’s population is 2.3 million people, at a density of 7,000 people/km2 in 1.3 per cent of Palestine. They were largely expelled from 247 villages in southern Palestine by the Zionist settlers. The colonial-settlers now living on their land are fewer in number than the Palestinians concentrated in Rafah camp in Gaza.
The Palestinians are not yet liberated. On the contrary, they are now being attacked by the very same forces that liberated Europe’s concentration camps after World War Two.
The banning of pro-Palestine demonstrations in Europe and the US, and criminalising the struggle for justice for the Palestinians and their legitimate right of return is evidence that the bloody Crusader legacy is very much alive in Zionist Israel. However, even after three generations, the Palestinians have not forgotten where their homes are and are still determined to return to them. It is they who will chart the future, because there is a basic rule not comprehended by the Crusader Zionists: you cannot defeat the human struggle for freedom.