Even a cursory glance at the Israel-Palestine issue will tell a story of betrayal and deceit. It tells us of the implementation of a daring and ambitious plan made by a group of Jews spearheading a movement called Zionism, which preached that Judaism is not just a religion but a nationality, one that deserved a nation. The Zionist movement started on the pretext that the Jews had been persecuted and discriminated against for the last two-thousand years and the only way to safeguard their interest was to get a separate homeland and turn it into a Jewish state with a homogenous Jewish population.
During World War 1, the Zionists supported the Allied Powers and Great Britain in return for their demands of a separate homeland. The British offered them Uganda, but Zionists were not interested. Palestine has always been a place of spiritual importance for the Jews, a place of pilgrimage, and the Promised Land. Therefore, the Zionists insisted on Palestine, which was offered to them under Britain’s Balfour Declaration of 1917.
Let the injustice of this action be clear: Britain offered Zionists something that was not theirs in the first place and a land that was inhabited by an overwhelming majority of Arabs.
According to official Israeli records, in 1917 there were around 60,000 Jews in Palestine as compared to 600,000 Arabs: a ratio of 10:90 in favour of Arabs. This demography was the biggest hurdle in implementing the Zionist plan. The solution crafted was to sponsor the immigration of Jews from around the world to Palestine. This inexcusable act started under the supervision of the same Europe and America that have been the loudest to denounce European ‘imperialism’, yet support the forcible colonisation of Palestine, thus sowing the seeds of conflict that would escalate with every passing day.
Israeli Professor Beit-Hallahmi sums it all by stating, “It was easy to make the Palestinians pay for 2,000 years of persecution. The Palestinians, who have felt the enormous power of this vengeance, were not the historical oppressors of the Jews. They did not put Jews into ghettoes and did not force them to wear yellow stars. They did not plan holocausts. But they had one fault. They were weak and defenseless in the face of real military might, so they were the ideal victims for an abstract revenge.”
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. US President Harry S Truman recognised the new nation on the same day. Israel has enjoyed the status of the most favoured nation of the US ever since. The bias of successive American administrations towards Israel is apparent by the fact that the US has vetoed almost all of the United Nation resolutions in favour of Israel in the past many decades, as well as supplying Israel with military weapons and billions of dollars in aid.
The leader of the Zionist movement, Theodor Herzl, had said that “Might takes precedence over right.” The Palestinians had ‘right’ on their side throughout, yet the Israelis ‘might’ has succeeded. The ‘might’ of Zionists have been able to turn anti-Zionist views into anti-Semitic. No matter how discreditable this idea might sound, it has proved to be a potent propaganda tool, particularly in the US.
Especially after 9/11, Israel started portraying the movement of the Palestinians as a terrorist movement. The western media has also played its role in furthering the propaganda. Instead of calling the disproportionate use of force by Israel against innocent, mostly unarmed Palestinians as a war crime against humanity, they call it a defensive war by Israel. However, a dispassionate comparison in numerical terms, in brute numbers of bodies and property destroyed, there is absolutely nothing to compare between what Israel has done to Palestinians and what in retaliation the Palestinians have done to Israel.
The fault lies with the Muslim world, too. They have not been able to counter the propaganda effectively. They have proved to be extraordinarily incompetent by not getting the message across the world despite having a strong case on the issue. The latest incident where Israel armed forces attacked worshippers in one of the holiest sites of Islam, the Al-Aqsa mosque, is a point in case. The majority of the Muslim world, with exception of a few, remained indifferent in raising any voice against the barbarous act. Yet, huge crowds came out on roads in the major capitals of the western world in support of Palestinians and denouncing Israel’s policies.
In the end, let me reiterate that violence begets violence, and a cycle of hatred repeats itself. This vicious cycle of violence can only be broken by intellectually sane voices that will raise alarms and condemn the continued occupation, dispossession, and dehumanisation of an entire people. Such voices are being heard and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted 17 resolutions against Israel in the year 2020 alone. The UNGA resolutions are non-binding, but they carry symbolic importance in world affairs and speak volumes of the world’s conscience. Moral courage is also required to be shown by the Muslim world, which has to use all the power available to it, both diplomatically and financially, to plead the case of the Palestinian people. The world must realise that Palestinians are entitled to freedom and independence like any other nation and that Israel must be stopped, by force if necessary, from carrying out human rights violations in Palestine.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Manchester, UK. [email protected]