From Words to Warfare: The Path from Xenophobia to Genocide in Palestine

Fancied Facts
16 min readMay 29, 2024


Destruction beyond hatred and xenophobia | By Fancied Facts

From Words to Warfare: The Path from Xenophobia to Genocide in Palestine

Understanding what xenophobia is and its devastating consequences is crucial in the context of the longstanding conflict involving Palestinians and Israelis. Xenophobia, or the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners, has played a pivotal role in exacerbating tensions and fostering environments ripe for conflict. In Palestine, the manifestation of xenophobia, combined with systemic racism, occupation, and colonial history, has contributed to a cycle of violence affecting countless lives. The significance of studying this phenomenon cannot be overstated, as it sheds light on how deeply ingrained prejudices can lead to widespread human rights violations, including home demolitions, sieges, and the denial of fundamental freedoms.

This article will delve into the historical context of ethnic and religious hatred in Palestine, examining the role of hateful ideologies and the impact of hate speech in fueling conflict. You will explore colonial history and its influence on present tensions, including critical events like the Balfour Declaration, the Nakba, and ongoing issues in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and around checkpoints and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Furthermore, the psychological and social impact on communities caught in the crossfire, the international reactions, media narratives, and the efforts toward resolution and peace will be scrutinized. By comprehending these elements, you gain insight into the complex web of factors that transform xenophobia into concrete acts of warfare and genocide.

First Zionist congress On 29–31 August 1897 in in Basel, Switzerland

Historical Context of Ethnic and Religious Hatred in Palestine

Origins and Evolution of Hatred

  1. The roots of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians can be traced back to the late 19th century when the area West of the Jordan River became the focal point of nationalist claims by both Zionists and Palestinian Arab nationalists.
  2. Zionism, emerging in Europe, was motivated by the historical attachment to the land and the need for a haven from European antisemitism, leading to Jewish immigration to Palestine.
  3. Concurrently, the Arab population, which had been the majority in the region for over a thousand years, opposed the idea of Jewish statehood, viewing it as a threat to their national aspirations and ethnic cleansing and removal from their homeland.

Extremism and Conflicts

  1. Various Jewish extremist groups, dating back to the 1948 war, have seen their actions as part of a divinely promised return to israel, and these groups committed massacres and various violent acts to assert to remove native Palestinians from their homeland.
  2. The Palestinian Hamas (resistance movement) was motivated by decades of injustices and displacement by Zionist militias — terror groups that later became Israel’s Defense Force IDF. The Israeli army systematically targeted innocent civilians.
  3. Iran, since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, has been a vocal opponent of Israel, supporting groups like Hezbollah and Hamas in their conflicts against the occupation of Israel, underpinning its stance with theological justifications.

Antisemitism and Its Impacts

  1. Historical antisemitism took various forms, from ancient accusations of deicide in the Greco-Roman period to medieval blood libels and modern racial theories.
  2. The creation of the State of Israel shifted some antisemitic focus towards Zionism, intertwining anti-Jewish sentiments with opposition to Israeli policies.
  3. In recent times, antisemitism has been a staple in the ideologies of far-right movements like the Nazis and anti-Zionist sentiments. However, it differs in the Arab world as most Arab have a big issues with Zionists but with not with Jews in general. They’ve seen the atrocities Zionists committed against the Palestinian population, and displacement from their own homes.
The Balfour Declaration, which was made public by the British Government in 1917 amid the First World War, served as an announcement of their endorsement for the creation of a “national residence for the Jewish population” in Palestine.

Political Dynamics and Colonial Influence

  1. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 and subsequent British mandates facilitated Jewish immigration while neglecting the political rights of Palestinian Arabs, sowing seeds of discord. Additionally, the British had no grounds to make political decisions on behalf of the native Palestinian people without consulting them about creating a homeland of foreigners without their consent or even knowledge.
  2. Post-World War I geopolitical rearrangements and promises made to both Arabs and Jews by the British complicated the regional dynamics, leading to increased tensions and eventual uprisings.
  3. The 1947 U.N. partition plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by many Palestinian Arabs. Because it unjustly divided the native Palestinians’ land and only offered them 42% of their homeland. The minority Jews offered 56% of Palestine; the remaining 2% included the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the adjoining area, which would become an international zone.

Longstanding Rivalries and Modern Implications

  1. The historical claims to the land have been a continuous source of friction, with some groups on both sides still advocating for complete control over the region.
  2. The establishment of organizations like the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) and later actions by groups such as Hamas took a firm resistance stance to free their stolen land, where they had to continuously deal with impartial Western nations led by the U.S. and its allies that often only listen to the israeli narrative.
  3. The fear of annexation and loss of territory continues to drive resistance among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, matched by ideological racist terrorist settlers who view the land as inherently israeli.

The Role of Hateful Ideologies

Xenophobia and Racism

Xenophobia, characterized as a negative attitude towards individuals or groups perceived as different from oneself, has been a significant challenge in democratic societies, exacerbated by large-scale immigration. This hostility is often rooted in fears about the out-group’s impact on the in-group’s values, identity, culture, and socioeconomic status. Authoritarian attitudes, emphasizing conventionalism and aggression, contribute to a climate that may promote undemocratic movements, potentially leading to significant political shifts, as historically seen in Germany in 1933. Studies have shown that low socioeconomic status, rightist political stances, and orthodox religious orientations correlate with increased intolerance and xenophobia. Institutionalized hate speech targeting ethnic and religious groups often lays the groundwork for conflicts and, if unchecked, can lead to atrocity crimes.

Religious Extremism

Religious extremism plays a crucial role in the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with both sides invoking divine mandates to justify their actions. In israel (occupying colonial system), extreme religious Zionists view themselves as the protectors of the Jewish states and constantly call for either expelling non-Jews and Muslims from the land and identity, resisting any concessions to Arabs. The West, led by the U.S., often points to external actors like Iran, which supports groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, which complicates the peace process, as these groups frequently receive financial and military backing to oppose Israel. One could also argue the role of the U.S. in providing unlimited military, economic, intelligence, and political support that doesn’t come close in comparison to the role of the Iran region, which is incredibly inferior to that of the United States.

The role of hateful ideologies mainly emanating from the Zionist occupation settler regime, encompassing both xenophobia and religious extremism, significantly impacts the dynamics of conflict and peace efforts in regions like Palestine. Addressing these ideologies requires a multifaceted approach involving education, dialogue, and legal measures to reduce hate speech and promote a more inclusive society. The West, led by the U.S., often points to external actors like Iran, which supports groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, which complicates the peace process, as these groups usually receive financial and military backing to oppose israel. One could also point out the role of the U.S. in providing unlimited military, economic, intelligence, and political support to israel, which doesn’t come close in comparison to the role of Iran in the region, which is incredibly subordinate to that of the United States.

The role of hateful ideologies mainly emanating from the Zionist occupation settler regime, encompassing both xenophobia and religious extremism, significantly impacts the dynamics of conflict and peace efforts in regions like Palestine. Addressing these ideologies requires a multifaceted approach involving education, dialogue, and legal measures to reduce hate speech and promote a more inclusive society.

Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

Impact of Hate Speech

Social Media Influence

On social media platforms, a troubling volume of hate speech, including antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian racism, has been identified. This surge in hateful rhetoric is often exacerbated by disinformation and cyber harassment. The normalization of anti-Palestinian racism in Western media and politics reflects on social media, where such content is seldom moderated effectively. This trend is alarming as marginalized groups like Palestinians rely on these platforms to voice their grievances and document human rights abuses.

The conflation of antisemitism with legitimate criticism of Israeli policies further complicates the discourse, leading to the silencing of Palestinian voices. Reports indicate that social media platforms have engaged in the shadow banning of Palestinian content while allowing anti-Palestinian language to spread. This selective censorship is evident as platforms often comply with governmental requests to restrict pro-Palestinian content, with a significant compliance rate reported.

Public Figures and Politicians

The role of public figures and politicians in spreading hate speech cannot be underestimated. Statements from figures like Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio have been noted to sanction or even encourage hate speech and violence, contributing to a climate where extreme views are normalized. This endorsement of hate speech by public figures legitimizes and potentially incites further violence.

In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the rhetoric used by these figures often involves severe accusations. It supports actions against Palestinians, which are echoed across social media platforms and can influence public opinion and policy. The impact of such high-profile endorsements of hateful rhetoric is profound, as it not only shapes public discourse but also affects the lives of countless individuals caught in the crossfire of these conflicts.

“At least 370,000 housing units in Gaza have been damaged, including 79,000 destroyed completely” Associated Press May 2, 2024

Human Rights Violations

Systemic Racism and Discrimination

In the landscape of the israeli aggression on the Palestinians, systemic racism and discrimination manifest through a series of laws, policies, and practices that institutionalize racial oppression. The israeli regime apparatus, through legislation such as the 1950 Law of Return and the 1952 Citizenship Law, has created a regime where Jewish settlers are privileged, automatically receiving citizenship upon settling in israel colonial state. In stark contrast, Palestinians, including those within the settler colony, face systemic oppression, exemplified by the denial of the right of return and the appropriation of their land and property under the 1950 Absentee Property Law.

The legal framework in israel is described by scholars as being premised on the dispossession of Palestinians, a process that is integral to the settler colonial project. This is further exacerbated by a racist logic that views Palestinians as a demographic “threat,” leading to their political, social, and geographical fragmentation. This strategy of elimination aligns with the overarching Zionist settler colonial discourse.

These discriminatory practices profoundly affect fundamental human rights such as access to housing, livelihoods, a healthy environment, and clean water. From 2009 to June 2022, over 8,475 Palestinian structures were demolished in the West Bank, displacing over 12,500 Palestinians, predominantly in Area C, which is targeted for illegal israeli settlement expansion.

Incidents of Ethnic Cleansing

Historical and ongoing incidents of ethnic cleansing are a grim reality in the israeli oppression and occupation. The displacement of Palestinians during the 1948 Palestine War was a calculated objective of the Zionist movement, essential for the establishment of israel as a Jewish state. This ethnic cleansing was executed through systematic expulsions and terror tactics by groups like the Irgun and Haganah against Palestinian civilians.

Recent warnings from U.N. human rights experts highlight the severe risk of mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, reminiscent of the 1948 Nakba and the 1967 Naksa, but potentially on a larger scale. These warnings are underscored by statements from Israeli public officials advocating for actions echoing the Nakba, during which over 750,000 Palestinians were expelled.

Furthermore, the ongoing war in Gaza has been described by Palestinians as a second Nakba, indicating a continuation of the policies and actions that lead to mass displacements and violations of human rights. The international community’s failure to intervene effectively allows these practices to persist, posing a grave threat to the Palestinian population.

This detailed examination of systemic racism and incidents of ethnic cleansing underscores the critical human rights violations occurring within the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These issues are deeply embedded in the political and social structures, perpetuating a cycle of violence and oppression.

Colonial History and Its Influence

British Mandate and Zionist Settlement

  1. The British government’s endorsement of a Jewish state in Palestine was formalized through the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917. This commitment set the stage for significant geopolitical shifts in the region.
  2. Under the British Mandate, Zionist settlement was actively encouraged and facilitated, leading to increased Jewish immigration. This period saw the transformation of Palestine’s demographic and cultural landscape as the land began to be systematically allocated to incoming Jewish settlers.
  3. The Sykes-Picot Agreement — The Sykes-Picot Agreement was a secret 1916 deal between the United Kingdom and France, with Russian permission, to divide the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire into areas of occupation and geopolitical control. Partitioning the Middle East between Britain and France without considering the existing ethnic and cultural divisions further exemplified the colonial powers’ disregard for indigenous populations.
  4. During the mandate, the British government implemented policies that favored Jewish settlers over the Arab population, such as granting Hebrew equal status to Arabic and allowing the flying of the Zionist flag, which intensified local Arab fears and resentment.

Post-1948 Developments

  1. Immediately following the expiration of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948, Zionist forces declared the establishment of the State of Israel, leading to the first Arab-Israeli war. This conflict resulted in the expulsion of at least 750,000 Palestinians and the capture of 78% of historic Palestine.
  2. The 1949 Armistice Line, commonly known as the Green Line, was established as the boundary between Israel and the territories captured during the war. This line is also referred to as the pre-1967 borders.
  3. Israeli military occupation has continued to shape the lives of Palestinians, with illegal settlements proliferating in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Approximately 750,000 Israeli settlers now reside in these areas, further exacerbating tensions and contributing to regular settler attacks against Palestinians.
  4. The ongoing oppression and occupation have led to the systematic destruction and underdevelopment of Palestinian urban areas. Cities like Hebron and Ramallah have experienced significant urban decay due to Israeli settlement expansion and the construction of bypass roads, which severely restrict Palestinian access to resources and mobility.

Examining colonial history and its ongoing influence provides a clear understanding of the complex dynamics that have shaped, and continue to shape, the Israeli occupation and aggression of the Palestinian people.

“Gaza’s Children: Trapped in a cycle of suffering” UNICEF

Psychological and Social Impact on Communities

Trauma and Mental Health

The occupation, recurring violence, and economic instability significantly influence mental health challenges in Palestine. In the West Bank, factors such as settler violence and confrontations with israeli forces are significant contributors to mental health issues. At the same time, in the Gaza Strip, the prolonged blockade and limited economic opportunities lead to adverse coping mechanisms like drug use. The pervasive sense of hopelessness is particularly impactful, driving an increase in suicides among Palestinian youth.

The escalation of hostilities, such as those witnessed in May, exacerbates these mental health challenges, causing trauma and fear from seeing the loss of lives and destruction — a substantial number of households in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank report psychosocial distress. About 38% in Gaza and 20% in the West Bank indicate that at least one member suffered from such distress in the month before data collection.

The continuous exposure to insecurity and safety concerns has led to prevalent mental disorders like anxiety, phobias, depression, and PTSD among Palestinians, especially adolescents and children. The psychological toll is evident, with symptoms such as insomnia, nightmares, and bedwetting being commonly reported among children.

Social Fragmentation

The social structure in Palestine, characterized by clan-like formations such as tribes and notable families, plays a dual role. On one hand, these structures provide crucial support during crises, offering emergency shelter and food assistance. On the other hand, they can perpetuate social inequalities through practices like favoritism in the job market, which benefits well-connected individuals at the expense of others.

During periods of heightened stress, such as the May escalation or the COVID-19 pandemic, reliance on these clan — and family-based support systems increases. However, the capacity of these networks to assist is often undermined when entire communities are impacted by events like the Zionist government’s demolitions.

The toll of armed conflict heavily impacts civilian populations, unraveling the social fabric of communities. Many families, displaced from their homes or having their homes destroyed, find themselves in overcrowded and underserviced shelters, which are hotbeds for the rapid deterioration of health and well-being, particularly affecting women and children.

In summary, the psychological and social impacts of the conflict in Palestine are profound, affecting a wide range of mental health issues and leading to significant social fragmentation. These effects are compounded by the structural challenges within Palestinian society and the ongoing political and military conflicts that exacerbate these issues.

International Reactions and Media Narratives

Western Media Perspectives

In the Western media, the portrayal of the conflict since October 7 has been markedly skewed. Mainstream outlets have predominantly framed the Hamas attack as a “terrorist attack.” At the same time, the Israeli military actions, which resulted in over 15,000 civilian deaths, are often described as acts of “self-defense.” This framing creates a misleading equivalence between the occupier and the occupied, especially considering the vast disparity in military capabilities between Hamas and Israel. The Western narrative frequently emphasizes the suffering of israeli citizens, using personal stories to humanize them, while Palestinian casualties are often reduced to mere statistics.

The language used in Western reports further amplifies this bias. For instance, israeli casualties are referred to with empathy, using terms like “children,” whereas Palestinian casualties are described as “minors.” Such discrepancies in language contribute to a narrative that vilifies Palestinians while garnering sympathy for Israelis. This selective portrayal is compounded by the absence of necessary historical context, such as the prolonged occupation and the systemic violence that Palestinians have endured.

Furthermore, reports of unverified claims, like the alleged atrocities committed by Hamas, have been circulated by prominent Western figures and media without sufficient scrutiny, only to be retracted later. This not only misinforms the public but also stokes the flames of israeli aggression on Gazans, underscoring the need for more rigorous journalistic standards in the coverage of such sensitive issues.

Middle Eastern Media Perspectives

Media across the Middle East reflect diverse narratives that often align with national interests and political leanings. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, the press expresses solidarity with Palestinians yet frames the normalization with israel as a necessary step for regional peace. Egyptian media outlets use the conflict to bolster President El Sisi’s image or highlight his shortcomings, depending on their political affiliations.

In Lebanon, the focus on the conflict with israel has gradually shifted to more pressing domestic issues like economic and political crises, despite ongoing skirmishes with Hezbollah. Yemen’s Houthis, on the other hand, have shown support for Gaza by launching missiles at israel, rallying national solidarity despite the country’s internal divisions.

Iranian media showcases a split between conservative and reformist outlets over the conflict’s involvement, while anti-regime influencers view Hamas’ losses as potentially beneficial for Iran. This varied media landscape in the Middle East illustrates how domestic agendas can shape the portrayal of international events, impacting public perception and policy at both local and regional levels.

Efforts for Resolution and Peace

Diplomatic Efforts

The United Nations has consistently advocated for a two-state solution as the only viable method to offer a type of temporary solution to the aggression and occupation of the israelis on the Palestinian people. The U.N. Secretary-General reiterated this stance, emphasizing that rejecting this solution should be firmly opposed. The international community, including influential nations and bodies, has echoed this sentiment, stressing the importance of a negotiated settlement that respects the rights and aspirations of both parties.

Various countries have proposed frameworks to restart peace negotiations in the diplomatic arena. For instance, France has advocated for a renewed peace process based on mutual concessions and recognition of each state’s rights. Similarly, Switzerland has called for a regional political consensus essential for lasting peace in the Middle East, highlighting the dynamic nature of regional politics and the need for an inclusive diplomatic approach.

Moreover, the United States’s involvement in mediating “peace talks” has unequivocally favored israel. All efforts, ranging from the Camp David Accords to more recent initiatives under different administrations, aim to enable the Israeli regime to have all the revealed and latest weapons to be used on any country in the Middle East with impunity. The U.S. supports a two-state solution but never seriously moved to implement and strategies implantation of the two-state solution other than to satisfy diplomatic formalities, all the while allowing israel to build illegal settlements under international law in the West Bank.

Grassroots Movements

Grassroots initiatives have played a crucial role in bridging divides and fostering a culture of peace and understanding between israelis and Palestinians. Organizations like IPCRI are dedicated to creating bi-national partnerships that support peaceful resolutions through cooperative projects and dialogue. Similarly, Combatants for Peace and Women Wage Peace are significant in mobilizing society towards nonviolent solutions, emphasizing the power of joint activism and advocacy.

Educational programs, such as those conducted by Hand in Hand, demonstrate the impact of integration at the youth level, promoting mutual respect and understanding through shared learning experiences. The Parents Circle — Families Forum also exemplifies the profound influence of joint grief and reconciliation efforts, using personal loss as a powerful tool for building bridges.

On the funding side, establishing a dedicated fund similar to the International Fund for Ireland could provide the necessary resources to sustain these grassroots movements. Experts who see the value in a well-coordinated and financed peacebuilding strategy discuss this approach, which maintains momentum in peace efforts and ensures that grassroots movements have a stable platform to effect change.

The cumulative efforts of these diplomatic and grassroots strategies illustrate a comprehensive approach to resolving the israeli aggression against Palestinians. Combining high-level diplomatic engagements with robust grassroots movements is a potential pathway toward achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.


Striding toward resolution necessitates a grounded recognition of the conflict’s historical and ongoing complexities and a committed international and grassroots effort toward fostering peace and understanding. The pivotal role of diplomatic endeavors, underscored by the United Nations’ advocacy for a two-state solution and the invaluable contributions of grassroots movements, offer a glimpse into the potential pathways out of the cycle of violence. Echoing the broader implications of this conflict, the quest for peace in Palestine is not only a matter of ending immediate hostilities but ensuring sustainable coexistence and respect among diverse communities, thereby addressing the deep-seated xenophobia that has long fueled this and other global conflicts.



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