Just weeks after calling for Huwwara to be “erased,” Israel’s fascist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, denied the very existence of a Palestinian people:

“Who was the first Palestinian king? What language do the Palestinians have? Was there ever a Palestinian currency? Is there a Palestinian history or culture? Nothing. There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”

‘A land without people for people without land’ is a Zionist myth that has always expressed the way Zionists looked at Palestinians: invisible, if not absent, or rather ‘present absentees.’ The Zionist rationale was 'since the land was empty, what is the ground of the moral opposition to the creation of a ‘land without people’ for ‘us’, i.e. ‘people without land’?

But Smotrich was just reiterating what other Zionist leaders have always said. Golda Meir, the former Israeli prime minister, said in an interview with The Sunday Times in 1969: "There was no such thing as Palestinians... They did not exist".

In order to concretize this idea in 1948, the Palestinians had to be eliminated, and their villages had to be “erased”. The Zionist goal of engineering a population shift from being the ‘Other’/minority to being the Master/ majority required the elimination/erasure of Palestine all together. Huwwara, like Gaza, is just a microcosm of a larger settler-colonial macrocosm.

Right from the beginning, the implementation of Herzlian Zionism led to the inevitable confrontation between natives and colonists. And like any settler-colonial power, Zionism viewed natives as an ‘other’ element of nature to be fought against. Palestinian resistance was, therefore, viewed by Zionists as it still is: as ‘criminal violence,’ ‘illegitimate,’ ‘terrorism’...etc.

These are the same terms that were used by the white supremacists of Apartheid South Africa against Black resistance. The ANC and the SACP, and other anti-apartheid movements, were considered terrorist organizations until the early 1990’s. Even Nelson Mandela himself was on the terrorist list. In Palestine, indigenous Palestinians are considered “anti-Semitic gentiles'' engaging in a war against the peaceful Jews.

The political goal of Zionism has always been to engineer a population shift from being a minority to being a majority. Massive Jewish immigration and the expulsion of the Palestinians are the means by which this goal is achieved.

Inevitably, the expropriation of land for Jewish-only settlements goes hand in hand with the denial of rights to the Palestinian population. Basic human and political rights of Palestinians are completely denied since Zionism, in principle, cannot allow Palestinians to exercise their rights because this would mean the end of the Zionist enterprise.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nation General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 which called for the partition of Palestine. Jews, 30% of the population, received 55% of the land.

In fact, this resolution laid the ‘legal’ basis for the legitimation of racism and separation, the denial of the majority rights, and the establishment of an ethno-religious state based upon mythological justifications without taking the democratic rights of the original inhabitants into account.

By 1949 more than 600 000 Palestinians became homeless with Israel occupying 77% of historic Palestine. The 1948 Nakba, or ‘catastrophe’ in Palestinian collective consciousness, led to the total destruction and disintegration of Palestinian society. In Zionist literature, the Israeli acceptance of the partition resolution was a “tactical move.”

The name Palestine, which existed as a well-defined unit between 1922 and 1948, had to be erased, together with the erasure of the natives from Jewish consciousness. In Zionist consciousness, Palestinians have no political rights in Palestine and even have no existence.

The realization of the Zionist dream has meant redemption for some Jews, but what is pushed back to the 'political unconscious' is its other half, namely the crime against and dispossession of the natives of historical Palestine.

Thus, from the Palestinian perspective, the crystallization of the Zionist dream has meant dispossession. Zionism wanted Palestinians to be forgotten forever. The Zionist response to these atrocities is that the Palestinians should not have existed in the first place and should not have been a part of the Story. They must remain invisible; or rather, ‘hidden victims’ like Native Americans.

The goal of Zionism, therefore, has always been to make the Palestinians faceless and voiceless refugees from nowhere, removed from the world’s active consciousness. They had no history, no consciousness, and thus no story to tell. Hence the extreme importance of Edward Said's insistence on rewriting the Palestinian Story, neither from an 'official' perspective, nor from a Zionist Robinson Crusoe’s perspective, but rather from that of the victim's, namely that of the dispossessed refugee.

Whether the Palestinians of Huwwara, Gaza, Jenin, Nablus, or any Palestinian city, apartheid Israel will continue to think of the best ways of “erasing” them while the official international community has its attention focused somewhere else.

It happened in 1982 during the Soccer World Cup in Spain, and in 2014 during the same trompement in Brazil, and is happening again now that Ukraine is the center of attention. Let alone the fact that the country is ruled by the most fascist government in its history.

The Netanyahu-Ben Gvir-Smotrich trio have never shied away from their goal: A state for Jews only!

Haidar Eid is an associate Professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza.