Tomorrow 15th May 2013 marks the 65th anniversary of the Nakba - the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. In human terms, 1948 saw the mass deportation of 700,000 Palestinians from their cities and villages, massacres of civilians, and the razing to the ground of hundreds of Palestinian villages. Mention of the word 'Nakba' in Israeli textbooks was banned by the Israeli Ministry of Education in 2009. The vast majority of Palestinian refugees, both those outside the 1949 armistice lines at the war's conclusion and those internally displaced, were barred by the newly declared state of Israel from returning to their homes or reclaiming their property. This dispossession and dispersal of the Palestinian people is known to them as al-Nakba, meaning "the catastrophe," or "the disaster.
The reporting of the continued suffering of the Palestinian people in the Prison of Gaza and in the Occupied West Bank riddled with illegal settlements occupied by Jewish racists from Brooklyn has been abysmal with absolutely no attempt at explanation and the usual photogenic IDF Spokesperson explaining that Israel only shot “very specific targets.” This of course in the occupied Golan Heights and in “Shabba Farms”, two villages equally illegally occupied by Israel when it withdrew from Lebanon.
Today, the UN reports that there are more than 4.75 million registered Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. Of these, nearly 1.4 million live in 58 UN-operated refugee camps. The total number of Palestinian refugees worldwide is estimated to be 5.5 million—the largest population of refugees in the world. Yet Israel has consistently refused to recognize the Palestinians’ right of return, as expressed in UN General Assembly Resolution 194, Article 11. Moreover, Israel’s expulsion and internal displacement of Palestinians continues to this day, albeit on a much smaller scale than in 1948. In a very real sense, the Nakba never really ended.
|Arthur Balfour - British Foreign Secretary whose October 1917 letter to Walter Rothschild became known as "The Balfour Declaration." He was an anti-Semite whose motivation was to solve the "Jewish Problem" by removing Jews from Europe to Palestine. Palestine was administered by Britain under trust from the League of Nations and the commitment by Balfour was a breach of the right of self determination contained in the League's Covenant.|
I wrote last December in relation to the tragedy of Gaza;
“Let us not forget in our PC world why Gaza exists is two words never used in Israel; Ethnic Cleansing. Gaza exists because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don't come from Gaza.
The Wikileaks cables show the complete lack of concern by American diplomats for the people of Palestine, they confirm that America is acting in this region with no moral purpose when it come to the Palestinian people and that it is utterly uninterested in the so called “Two States Solution” allowing Israel to set 100% of the agenda to stop a Palestinian State being a reality. Better to withdraw its 1.1 Bn Dollar military aid to Israel which is totally contrary to the US’s strategic interests. Better to withdraw its $1. 0 Bn a year aid to Egypt which allows the Pharaoh Murbarak and the military elite to run a repressive farce pretending to be a democracy. Why, America will really be surprised when Egypt implodes and the US loses another great ally? Far better to cut both these payments by America’s hard pressed taxpayer and divert the resources to addressing the results and righting the wrongs of the 1948 ethnic cleansing and making the “Two Nation” solution a reality.
|A Palestinian family in the 1930's|
Malnourished children, restrictions on Gaza-fisherman, lacklustre sewage and water systems, and the confiscation of $4.5 billion in international aid will not improve Israel’s security in the long run. It will only increase the popularity of the Hamas Movement, decrease the effects of counterterrorism throughout the globe, and create the next generation of dangerous faith-based ideologues.”
Well the world has moved on since I wrote that. It may now be time for the State of Israel to start abiding by the concept of universal human rights. Not only would such activities have the symbolic effect of furthering international unity towards tolerance and respect (despite religion, ethnicity, or background), but may strengthen Israel’s right to exist by severely diminishing Arab hostility towards the Jewish people.
For there is only one Middle Eastern “rogue state” which has attacked each and every one of its neighbours including destroying the EU funded infrastructure of Gaza, dismembering Lebanon, occupying the sovereign territory of Syria, occupying East Jerusalem and the West Bank which it is illegaly settling and applying collective punishment to the civilian population (in defiance of the “quaint” Geneva Conventions), which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and which has developed nuclear weapons. And did I mention that its previous Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, had personally led a terrorist massacre of women and children? During the raid on Qibya, Jordan in 1953, a total of 69 Palestinians were killed and forty-five houses, a school, and a mosque were blown-up. The act was condemned by the US State Department, the UN Security Council, and by Jewish communities worldwide. And the previous Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s father was Quartermaster of the Irgun terrorist organisation (you know the guys who killed both the British and UN Peace Envoys and hanged three British soldiers including a Jewish lad from the East End). Former Foreign Minister’s Tzipi Livni’s father was the leader of the Irgun group which carried out the King David Hotel massacre which killed 92 people including 17 Jews.
King David Hotel massacre
And did I mention that another previous Israeli Prime Minister, Menachim Begin, was the Irgun leader who gave the order? But less of rogue states with terrorist links whose support by the US is entirely contrary to America’s strategic interests. But perhaps Barack might suggest to Israel’s leadership that if it is to survive and prosper it will not do so by military means and it is now a time for change?
|Suba - A district of Jerusalem ethnically cleansed of |
Palestinians during The Nakba
I am not anti- Jewish, indeed quite the opposite. I document elsewhere in this Blog the Jewish communities of Prague, Krakow, Marrakech and Kos and the killing machine of Auschwitz-Birkenau. I am not anti-Semitic and abhor racism in all its forms. I do not equate Zionism with racism and I would never support in any circumstances any boycott of Israel, no matter how it is dressed up. I would never support it because I understand the resonance in Jewish history of boycotts and recognise that Theodor Herzl’s advocacy of Zionism was a valid response to the bullying and suffering Jewish people were suffering in 19th Century Europe. After the events of The Shoah there is no way I could look a Jewish person in the eye and argue in favour of assimilation, even though 60% of world Jewry lives outside of Israel.
But you do not fight racism and oppression by yourselves becoming the racists and the oppressors. Israel must acknowledge its terrorist origins and the part played by massacres of the Palestinians in the exodus of Arabs from Palestine, acknowledge the evil of the Deir Yassin massacre: the murder of roughly 100 Palestinians villagers by Zionist paramilitaries on April 9, 1948, and the other indefensible events in that tragic period.
For the only way forward for Israel is a genuine Two State Solution reverting to the 1949 Line of Control and internationalising Jerusalem (Yerushaláyim “The City of Peace”, القُدس, al-Quds “The Holy Sanctuary”). There is no long term strategic interest for the United States in having Israel as its proxy military power in the Middle East and for Israel to rely on military might subsidised by a foreign power for its long term security. And for the United States perhaps when the sugar rush from the killing of Bin Laden has worn off perhaps it might reflect that the two greatest threats to its own security come from its own greed. It’s greed for oil which has made it dependant on the Saudi tyranny and its greed for cocaine which has created violent corrupt narco states in South America, in North America (Mexico) and in Afghanistan. Perhaps the greedy and incontinent consumer has to take some responsibility for the consequences of their own prolifigate greed? When considering Bin Laden perhaps the US and Israel should remember that before 1948 “Nakba” referred to the cynical partition of the Arab World into dependant statelets by France and Britain, two of the most enthusiastic interventionists in Libya. Not for nothing did Osama Bin Laden start his denunciations with the shameful Treaty of Sevres – a murderous medievalist he may have been but mindless he was not.
There is no going back; the Arab Spring will affect the Arab World, Israel and the children of the Nakba equally. Israel and Modern Judaism will have to reflect if a people who greet each other with “Shalom” and part with the words 'l'chayim' are really on a sustainable path to peace and security? And if the United States want to move on from the immoral and failed neo-colonial policy it has adopted to the Arab World and Islam then it should not despair because somebody called Thomas Jefferson has already come up with a better policy;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;”