This is one of the longest running conflicts on this earth; yes we are talking about “Palestine”, most of Palestinians are living in exile as refugees so that is why I called Palestine a country in exile;. Palestine is home to so many holy sites, these sites are holy to all three major religions in world i.e Christianity, Islam and Judaism, the heart of this whole region is ‘Jerusalem’ the capital city of Palestine now under illegal control of Israel a state for Jews. What is the conflict about and how did this all start? It was the year 1897, First Zionist Congress was held in Basel (Basle), Switzerland, from August 29 to August 31, 1897. It was convened and chaired by Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionism movement. The Congress formulated a Zionist platform, known as the Basel program, and founded the Zionist Organization. Theodor Herzl was an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist, playwright, political activist, and writer. Herzl formed the Zionist Organization and promoted Jewish immigration to Palestine in an effort to form a Jewish state. Though he died before its establishment, he is known as the father of the State of Israel. On 17 May 1901, Herzl met with Sultan Abdulhamid II, who turned down Herzl’s offer to consolidate the Ottoman debt in exchange for a charter allowing the Zionists access to Palestine. The World Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund encouraged immigration and funded purchase of land, both under Ottoman rule and under British rule, in the region of Palestine. the first recorded violent incidents between Arabs and the newly immigrated Jews in Palestine was the accidental shooting death of an Arab man in Safed, during a wedding in December 1882, by a Jewish guard of the newly formed Rosh Pinna. Rosh Pinna is a town, It was established as Gei Oni in 1878 by local Jews from Safed. The Jewish immigration waves began arriving in Palestine as a result of the extent of the various Zionist enterprises which started becoming apparent. The First Aliyah was a major wave of Zionist immigration (Aliyah) to Ottoman Palestine between 1881 and 1903. Jews who migrated in this wave came mostly from Eastern Europe and from Yemen. An estimated 25,000–35,000. In The Second Aliyah was an important and highly influential Aliyah (Jewish emigration to Palestine) that took place between 1904 and 1914, during which approximately 35,000 Jews immigrated into Ottoman-ruled Palestine, mostly from the Russian Empire. By 1914 the Jewish population in Palestine had risen to over 60,000, with around 33,000 of these being recent settlers. Aliyah is the accepted convention to divide the flow of Jewish immigrants into a series of Aliyah or waves of newcomers, each of which made a characteristic contribution to the New Yishuv’s developing institutional structure. The final product, the base upon which Israel was founded, is pictured as a stratified deposit of the historic achievements of the successive Aliyah from 1881 to 1948. It was June 28, 1914 when the World War I began after the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip. As a result of a mutual defense treaty that the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers opposed to Great Britain and France. The possibility of releasing Palestine from the control of the Ottoman Empire led the new Jewish population and the Arab population in Palestine to support the alignment of the United Kingdom, France, and Russia during World War I. In 1915, the McMahon–Hussein Correspondence was formed as an agreement with Arab leaders to grant sovereignty to Arab lands under Ottoman control to form an Arab state in exchange for the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottomans. In 1917 The Balfour Declaration was made, it was a public statement issued by the British government announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. After the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, the British took control of the area known as Palestine. The land was inhabited by a Jewish minority and Arab majority. Tensions between the two peoples grew when the unanimously western powers spearheaded by Britain started establishing a so-called “national home” on the lands of Palestinians in the Palestine for the European Jewish immigrants.
In July 1937 The Peel Commission published its report. The report admitted that the mandate was unworkable because Jewish and Arab objectives in Palestine were incompatible, and it proposed that Palestine be partitioned into three zones: an Arab state, a Jewish state, and a neutral territory containing the holy places. In 1947, The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was a proposal by the United Nations, which recommended a partition of Mandatory Palestine at the end of the British Mandate. On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the Plan as Resolution 181. The United Nations voted for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city. That plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side and never implemented. As the clashes between the two communities increased British failed to establish peace and thus, declared the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Palestinians objected and a war followed. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in what they call Al Nakba, or the “Catastrophe”. By the time the fighting ended in a ceasefire the following year, Israel controlled most of the territory. The war led to over 700,000 Palestinians becoming refugees. Jordan holding land, which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt holding Gaza. Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West, and Jordanian forces in the East. Since there was never a peace agreement, each side blamed the other and wars and conflicts continued. In 1956 Israel invaded the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, with one of its objectives being the reopening of the Straits of Tiran that Egypt had blocked to Israeli shipping since 1950. Israel was eventually forced to withdraw, but was guaranteed that the Straits of Tiran would remain open. A United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) was deployed along the border, but there was no demilitarization agreement. In 1967 the war broke out which is known as ‘The Six-Day War’. At the end of war Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. Today’s lines largely reflect the outcomes of two of these wars, one waged in 1948 and another in 1967. Most Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in Gaza and the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, neither they nor their descendants have been allowed to return to their homes by Israel. Palestinians are considering East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel has been denying Human Right to Palestinians by not allowing Palestinians to return to their homes, Israel makes a lame excuse that this would overwhelmingly threaten its existence as a Jewish state but does it mean that we can force people to abandon their homes? Israel still occupies the West Bank, and is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza right now, Peace talks have been taking place on and off for decades, but to no avail. The United Nations has a dangerous history of failing to uphold Palestinian rights. UN does seem to have no capacity to act effectively, despite being a major international organization, the UN’s role and decisions are influenced by super-powers such as the United States. When it comes to Palestine, UN is been deliberately and completely paralyzed by the US, acting on Israel’s behalf. There are resolutions passed in UN and are never acted upon, UN is so weak that it has failed to protect Palestinians from Israeli attacks, Israel has been attacking Schools, Hospitals, Civilian Ares, and in recent attacks a Building housing Media houses like Al Jazeera and Associated Press was attacked and UN has just been a mute spectator just giving out condemnation speeches on media, on same media that is no more allowed to cover Israeli atrocities on Palestinians by Israeli Government. Who can forget 2008 Israel’s war on Gaza. The 22-day military assault killed more than 1,400 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, overwhelmingly civilians and including hundreds of children, and injured thousands more. More than 2,000 children were orphaned. Vast swathes of homes, schools, factories, agricultural land, hospitals, mosques, and UN offices across the crowded, impoverished strip of occupied territory were bombed to rubble. Critical infrastructure, including water, sewage treatment and electrical generating capacity, was destroyed by Israeli Jets. Just hours into the assault on Gaza, then President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Fr. Miguel d’Escoto, tried to immediately summon the Assembly in response to the crisis He faced pushback from those who believed that the Security Council should be allowed to act first, and was unable to convene an official meeting. Fr. d’Escoto in his speech that night affirmed that Israel’s bombing of Gaza “is simply the commission of wanton aggression by a very powerful state against a territory that it illegally occupies. Time has come to take firm action if the United Nations does not want to be rightly accused of complicity by omission. … I remind all member states of the United Nations that the UN continues to be bound to an independent obligation to protect any civilian population facing massive violations of international humanitarian law – regardless of what country may be responsible for those violations. I call on all Member States, as well as officials and every relevant organ of the United Nations system, to move expeditiously not only to condemn Israel’s serious violations, but to develop new approaches to providing real protection for the Palestinian people.” By the next day, December 28, the Security Council acted – sort of. The U.S. made clear it would veto any resolution holding Israel responsible for its massive violations, and instead the Council adopted only a press statement, without any enforcement capacity. The statement “expressed serious concern at the escalation of the situation in Gaza and called for an immediate halt to all violence.” In other words, the Council did nothing, just nothing than turning a blind eye to Israeli war crimes in Gaza. The same has been going on, a resolution, condemnation, Media talks, US Veto and this all shameless cycle of inaction from International community has emboldened Israel to force Palestinians out of their homes and wage wars against them. Israel has continued its Genocidal mission of wiping out entire Palestinian population. The role of the UN is now in question but the significance of its existence remains relevant to the international system because of state recognition besides humanitarian aids, development programmes and other member benefits. Apart from UN there is also Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) it can be called a UN of Muslims where certain Arab countries have an unseen Veto power and like UN it does not have any military wing. OIC recently held an emergency meeting on Israel-Gaza on going war. As world knows that Arab nations are already part of Zionist game known as ‘Trump’s deal of century’, where UAE established diplomatic ties with Israel in love of ,Deal of Century’, Powerful Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said “Palestinians should ‘take Trump deal or shut up’, and even offered Palestinian President Mehmoud Abbas $10bn to accept Trump’s deal. Saudi Arabia has a great influence on Arab Nations and therefore the move of UAE having full diplomatic ties with Israel was understood to have approval of Saudi high command. What remains of OIC mainly consists of just three countries Iran, Turkey and Pakistan. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a pledge to set aside differences with Islamic countries to create a united front against Israel and condemned Western countries for “equating victims and culprits”. Zarif cancelled the upcoming trip to Vienna in protest of Austrian government’s decision of flying Israeli flag on government buildings in solidarity of Israel. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recommended an “international protection mechanism” for Palestine’s civilian. He said “These efforts should also include physical protection through forming an international protection force with military and financial contributions of willing countries,”, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the international community to take measures to end the massacre in Gaza being conducted by Israeli forces, he said. “Israel’s aggression in Gaza should stop immediately”. Well Palestinians have lost all hopes, so does others, what good can OIC do to Palestinians when it failed in solving its own internal issues. Palestinians are left with no option than to continue their resistance and support groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad who are fighting a mighty Israeli Army with handful of fighters and weapons. If we see and enlist major mistakes during course of history by Palestinians or Arab leadership, we can point them as:
• A weak foresight of Ottoman Turks, which allowed Zionist settlers to purchase lands in Palestine during that era.
• Failure to create a well established opposition to huge waves of European Jewish immigrants during 1880’s till 1903.
• Failure of Arab leaders to understand value of a state for Palestinian people and ending up rejecting two state solution in 1947.
• Un-coordinated war of Arab countries in 1967 that exposed Arab countries military strength in front of Israel and undermined their negotiating power as a party in conflict.
• All the so called peace treaties that paved way for Israel’s annexation of Palestinian lands.
There was a cartoon published in 1936 in Newspaper ‘Falastin’, the Palestinian Arab Christian-owned ‘Falastin’ newspaper featured a caricature on its 18 June 1936 edition showing Zionism as a crocodile under the protection of a British officer telling Palestinian Arabs: “don’t be afraid!!! I will swallow you peacefully…” indeed this is a reality, Israel is swallowing Palestine slowly and with all shame still playing victim card on international forums. Israel is on a mission of creating greater Israel. What is greater Israel? The territory “from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates” is known as Promised land also known as the land of Israel, according to the Bible, On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi (River) of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”. Israel’s politicians have been selling this dream of greater Israel. In a letter to his son David Ben-Gurion First Prime Minister of Israel stated that partition would be acceptable but as a first step. Ben-Gurion wrote that “This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.” The same sentiment was recorded by Ben-Gurion on other occasions, such as at a meeting of the Jewish Agency executive in June 1938, as well as by Chaim Weizmann. Ben Gurion said: “We shall smash these frontiers which are being forced upon us, and not necessarily by war. I believe an agreement between us and the Arab State could be reached in a not too distant future”. Whereas on the other side there has been leadership crisis, Palestinian leadership has been a divided house and Arab leaders have failed and division in leadership was seen at times wide and open. Whole Ummah must be Thankful to Ayatollah Syed Rulallah Khomaeni, Islamic Revolutionary leader who pitched Palestine as an issue of Islamic world and an issue of human kind; It was Ayatollah Khomaeni who declared last Friday of Ramadan as ‘Quds Day’. This year Ismail Hani the leader of Hamas in his speech on Quds Day mentioned the role of Ayatollah Khomaeni in keeping alive the struggle of Palestine and role of Iran in strengthening and supporting of the resistance of Palestine. International community has to understand that Palestine issue has a very deep effect on world peace and world peace is unachievable unless the issue of Palestine is solved peacefully. Muslim world has to understand the current reality and build consensus among them, mere slogans would do no good to Palestine, Muslim Leaders have to get united and build pressure on international community to stop Israel’s systematic, well instituted state run terrorism in the form of continuous wars on Palestinians inside occupied territories and beyond. We cannot wait for international community to realize that Israel needs to be hold accountable, may be that day never comes Israel has a very strong lobby in international forums that is how Israel even after committing so many war crimes is not held accountable, but a day will come when oppressed of this world will be free and oppressed will taste the punishment, I hope that a dawn is arriving soon!
(The author is a freelancer. Views are exclusively his own)