By Nizar Sakhnini
Zionism may mean different things to different people. However, within the context of the conflict in Palestine, Zionism refers to the ideological foundation of a political movement calling for the establishment of an exclusive Jewish State in Palestine. This Zionist political movement began its efforts in the nineteenth century and was officially introduced during the 1st Zionist Congress in 1897.
Theodor Herzl, who presided the 1st ZC, had provided the ideological underpinnings of the Zionist movement in his pa pamphlet, Der Judenstaat, which was published in 1896. In a nutshell, Herzl called for a colonial project for the exclusive benefit of the Jews and suggested that Der Judenstaat would “form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.”
Efforts of the Zionist political movement to implement their project, with the support of the Imperialist Great Powers, in complete disregard to the Palestinian rights and human reality in Palestine, were responsible for initiating and prolonging the conflict in and around Palestine.
Establishment of an exclusive Jewish State in a country where the majority of its people were not Jewish meant transplanting Jews from all corners of the world and bringing them to Palestine. Simultaneously, it meant dispossession and ethnic cleansing for the Palestinians.
This was, and still is, the core issue in the conflict. All else was derivative.