By Ameen Izzadeen
As the world’s attention is on the crisis in Syria, the problem at the core of the Middle Eastern conflict gets scant media coverage. Yes, the Palestinian crisis which has been eluding a solution for the past 65 years appears to be off the international radar. The last time Palestine made big news was when, in September last year, it obtained United Nations observer state status.
This week the Palestinians will mark the 65th anniversary of Nakba or ‘catastrophe’ that has its beginning in the creation of Israel in 1948. Sixty five years ago, as the world was preparing to welcome the new state of Israel that emerged from what was then British mandate Palestine, Zionist terrorist gangs raided Palestinian villages and terrorised unarmed people, telling them that they either leave the villages or face death. As tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs were ethnically cleansed by the new state’s goon squads, the so-called civilised world chose not to see the terror. In comparison to what took place in 1948, the Bosnian ethnic cleansing in the late 1990s pales into insignificance. One such Palestinian village that was ethnically cleansed was Dier Yassin. It took place just a month before Israel declared itself an independent state on May 15, 1948.
Just before dawn on April 9, 1948, armed members of the Zionist terror groups Irgun and Stern Gang raided Dier Yassin, a village that lay outside the area allocated by the United Nations to Israel. More than 100 Palestinians who defied the orders to evacuate were massacred while the rest were evicted at gun point.
But sadly Nakba that saw the expulsion of some 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland does not evoke sympathy the way the Nazi holocaust does. Some may say that one cannot compare Nakba with the holocaust because the holocaust is about millions of Jewish deaths at the hands of their Nazi persecutors during and just before World War II. But if suffering is measured not only by the death toll but also by other factors such as the number of years the persecution lasts, then one can understand the magnitude of the Palestinian suffering by multiplying it by six and a half times the period during which the Jewish suffering took place. With an unknown number of Palestinians killed since 1948, the Palestinians are as much victims today as the Jews had been at the hands of the Germans.
Renowned British historian Arnold J. Toynbee has this to say: “The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though nor comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.”
Some say it is a sad twist of fate that the persecuted – in this case the Jews — have become the persecutors of the Palestinians who sheltered them when they were being hounded by the Nazis. But those who died in the holocaust were innocent Jews, not the Zionists, some of whom were collaborationists.
It smacks of an ulterior motive when the Zionist-controlled Western media and Hollywood regularly highlight the horrors of the holocaust. There are articles and movies galore. They evoke the world’s sympathy for the Jews. But in the process, the crimes of the present day Zionists are washed away. In this process, the long suffering of the Palestinian people is ignored or even denied, encouraging the Zionists to further oppress and deliberately dehumanise the Palestinian people living in Israel, the occupied territories, and outside in their diaspora.
Nakba that began 65 years ago is still continuing with Israel becoming an apartheid state. Its 20 per cent Arab population is virtually treated like second class citizens. Rights activists say more than 50 laws enshrine their status as second-class citizens. Yet there is little or no condemnation from the United States or the so-called human rights champions. In occupied Palestine, Palestinian land is being grabbed to build settlements for Jewish immigrants. Even East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians regard as their capital, has been encroached upon. Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, declaring the city sacred to all three monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – as its capital. However, the international community has not recognised this declaration.
While any Jew born in any part of the world can obtain Israeli citizenship upon entering that country, more than four million Palestinian scattered around the world have no right to return to their original homeland. Many Palestinian refugees living in squalid conditions in sprawling camp cities in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere still hold on to the fast-rusting keys of their homes which they were forced to vacate by Israeli terrorists.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in a statement yesterday said Israel’s “segregation policies” had caused deep economic isolation and left more than 80 per cent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem wallowing in poverty.
Pointing to discriminatory policies and the different legal status of the city’s Palestinian dwellers, compared to Israeli settlers there, UNCTAD chastised Israel for not doing enough to meet its obligations as an occupying power.
Before Israel was set up, Palestine was a peaceful province, a part of the Ottoman Empire. But things began to change in the 18th century with European leaders wooing the Jews. The first to declare a homeland for the Jews in Palestine was Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. However, he was defeated in his war for Palestine by the Ottomans. Later in the late 19th century, Theodore Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian journalist, spearheaded what is known as ‘political Zionism, a movement to create a Jewish state in Palestine. As opposed to this concept, religious Zionism seeks the setting up of a Jewish state only after the arrival of the final messiah. In this conflict, the political Zionists who had the money and influence prevailed. Even today Orthodox Jews such as Neturei Karta view the creation of Israel as a rebellion against God. Neturei Karta Jews say, “Jews are not allowed to dominate, kill, harm or demean another people and are not allowed to have anything to do with the Zionist enterprise, their political meddling and their wars… The true Jews remain faithful to Jewish belief and are not contaminated with Zionism. The true Jews are against dispossessing the Arabs of their land and homes. According to the Torah, the land should be returned to them…. The world must know that the Zionists have illegitimately seized the name Israel and have no right to speak in the name of the Jewish people!”
The movement’s official website http://www.nkusa.org carries several photographs of its activities. One photograph shows a Neturei Karta rabbi carrying a poster which reads: “Hypocrisy – the Zionist Movement was implicated of collaboration with the Nazis”. Another story on the web site appeals for funds to buy ambulances for Gaza, a 350 sq km land area or Israeli-run prison or concentration camp where more than 1.5 million Palestinians live with little or no freedom to migrate or to deal with the outside world. Even essential items such as medicine and construction material can get into Gaza only with Israel’s approval.
The slogan linking the Zionists with the Nazis may come as a shock to many who are not familiar with the ‘political’ Zionist movement’s schemes such as the Protocols of the Elders of the Zion, which the Zionists slam as a “Russian hoax”. Many academics and researchers have exposed the Zionists’ links with the Nazis. Among them were French Philosopher Roger Garaudy and Henry Ford. The former exposed the Zionist plan to expand Israel by balkanising the Middle East, while the latter wrote ‘The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem,’ a controversial book even today because of conspiracies and disclaimers associated with it.
But anyone who exposes Zionism is labelled as anti-Semite. In some European countries anti-Semitism is a punishable crime. Racial profiling of the Jews, no doubt, deserves condemnation. Moves aimed at inciting hatred against the Jews or any other people should not be tolerated. But at the same time, we must not shy away from condemning Zionist crimes. It is not anti-Semitism to expose the crimes that Israel has been committing in occupied Palestine for the past 65 years.
But partly because of the moral, financial and military support the United States extends to Israel, and partly because of the Zionists’ control of politicians not only in the United States and the West but also in the developing world and their hold on the world media, the horrendous human rights violations of the Zionist state go unpunished. So much so, Israel had the audacity to show its middle finger to the United Nations Human Rights Council in January in an act of defiance.
By aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes, including the occupation of Palestine, the United States has become an accomplice. This is notwithstanding, US President Barack Obama’s repeated declarations supporting the creation of a Palestinian state. Obama asked Israel to stop settlement building activities in Palestinian land, but the Zionist state showed little respect for the request. He avoided meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what was described as a snub. But soon he was seen cosying up to Israel during his campaign for re-election last year. He also opposed the Palestinian bid to seek observer state status at the UN.
Five months into his second term, Obama has made little or no progress in bringing about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He stirred much hope when he made his first overseas call as the President of the United States in 2009 to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But five years later, little has changed. The US-brokered peace talks remain stalled. The so-called Middle East quartet – the US, Russia, the UN and the EU – is nowhere to be seen with its envoy Tony Blair interested largely in building his financial empire by giving advice to oil sheikhs and oil companies. The support of oil rich Gulf Arab countries to the Palestinian cause is limited to dollars and talk. These countries, including Saudi Arabia, have miserably failed to use their influence with the US and get justice for the Palestinians. Is there anyone who cares for the plight of the Palestinians?
(This article first appeared in the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka)
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