The Palestinian Nakba revisited

Khalid Amayreh , Thursday 16 May 2013

Yesterday marked the 65th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, the violent usurpation and occupation of Palestine by Zionist Jewish settlers coming from around the world

The seizure of Palestine can be considered one of the greatest acts of theft in the history of mankind. Israel itself is a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Thanks to the infamous Balfour Declaration of 1917, Palestine, an Arab country since the 7th century, was given by another country (Britain) to a third people (the Jews) without even consulting the native people of the country.

According to the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, "The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was ‘given’ by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state."

In fact, it can be safely argued that the West, particularly Britain, committed the original sin by envisaging, planning and implanting Israel in the heart of the Arab world in order to protect its colonial and imperialistic interests.

In 1905, Britain's prime minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, invited Western imperial powers to a conference that continued until 1907. The conference recommended the establishment of "a state on the lands of Palestine, to serve as an advanced base for the covetous colonialists, and protect their interests, implement their plans and schemes and ensure the outflow of natural resources from the region, as well as the import of their goods and products into the markets of the region."

The American Jewish writer Noam Chomsky described this act committed by European powers, especially Britain, as follows: "When a man brings a snake and puts it in the bed of a child and it stings the child, the man is responsible for the child’s death, not the snake.”

This person cannot claim innocence and say 'I did not know that the snake was poisonous!'

The famous British historian Arnold Toynbee, in his book A Study of History, said that "while the direct responsibility for the calamity that overtook the Palestinian Arabs in AD 1948 was on the heads of the Zionist Jews who seized a lebensraum for themselves in Palestine by force of arms in that year, a heavy load of indirect, yet irrefutable, responsibility was on the heads of the people of the United Kingdom."

But the "snake" (Israel) has acquired a life of its own, "and it no longer depends on its erstwhile Western benefactors for its survival and continuity."

Nonetheless, there is no guarantee — historical, moral or religious — that the "snake" will have an extended life.

In the final analysis, Israel is an illegal being that will have to go. Yes, Israel is a regional superpower, has a prosperous economy, is technologically advanced and tightly controls the government, Congress and media of the United States. But nations don't live by modern fighter jets and nuclear bombs alone. The Soviet Union had a plenty of these.

In order to have a sustained existence, nations must possess a moral justification. Justice, not military might, is what guarantees the longevity and continuity of states.

In 1948, Zionist leaders such as David Ben Gurion thought that the Palestinian people would disappear into oblivion, slowly but surely. Indeed, just as the genocidal invaders from Eastern Europe and elsewhere bulldozed and obliterated more than 500 Palestinian villages, Zionist elders thought that old Palestinians would die and young Palestinians would forget.

But to the Zionists' chagrin, the Palestinian cause is still as vivid and relevant in the minds and hearts of the Palestinian people today as it was in 1948. Thousands of Palestinians still retain the keys to their homes from which they were expelled at gunpoint when Israel was created 65 years ago. The trust is bequeathed by the older to younger generations.

Today, even the least patriotic Palestinians who would rather reach "a peace deal" with Israel by hook or by crook wouldn't dare suggest that they would sell out the right of return, even in lieu of a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

To be sure, Palestinians and Muslims in general have no problem living with Jews. Jews lived side-by-side with Arabs and Muslims for close to 1400 years. Jews had never revolted against their Muslim rulers or demanded a state of their own.

Indeed, the call for the return of Jews to Palestine did not come from Middle Eastern or Palestine Jews; it rather came from Western Jews.

When the Hungarian Jewish leader Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897, which was attended by 196 delegates, only four of the 196 delegates were Jews from Palestine.

As Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, our problem is not with Jews who believe in "live and let live," but rather with this diabolical, fanatical and genocidal Zionism that has drenched this part of the world with blood, hatred and inequity.

Israel claims to be Jewish and following ancient Jewish ideals of justice. But this is a hollow claim, bordering on wishful thinking.

The truth of the matter is that Israel represents the antithesis of the prophetic ideals of the ancient Israeli prophets. What happened to "Thou shall not murder, thou shall not steal, and thou shall not lie"?

Even Abraham, the purported common forefather of the ancient Israelites and northern Arabs wouldn't accept to obtain a burial place for his dead wife Sara free of charge in Hebron.

Today, one is affronted by these fanatical Jewish settlers who terrorise and savage peaceable Palestinian villagers, poison and kill their livestock, burn down their fields and orchards.

And when the unprotected helpless Palestinians seek redress in Israeli courts, they are told by the Jewish judges that the settlers have a point because "your homes and land once belonged to the settlers' ancestors some 3000 years ago."

Such a state where inequity and oppression are rampant can't and will not live long, even if it possessed all the modern warplanes in the world.

They killed the two-state solution

Israel has already decapitated the two-state solution. The intensive expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has really left no room for a viable and territorially contiguous Palestinian state.

The US, EU and the helpless Palestinian Authority (PA) pretend that there is still a chance for reviving the two-state solution strategy. But we who live here in the West Bank know better. We just can't betray our own eyes.

We also know well two other facts that further enforce our conviction that the chances for establishing a true Palestinian state have vanished irreversibly. The first fact is that Israeli society is moving steadily towards Talmudic Jewish fascism, which makes it extremely unlikely that Israel would agree anytime soon to give up the spoils of the 1967 war, which would imply the inevitable dismantlement of hundreds of Jewish colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory.

The second fact is that the United States, Israel's guardian-ally, is utterly unable, and even willing, to exert any meaningful pressure on Israel, which would force or convince it to end its occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. The reason for this is the tight Jewish stranglehold on the American decision-making process. Thus, Israeli control of the White House, Congress and other American political institutions is too overwhelming to allow for any US manoeuvre outside the Jewish dragnet.

The demographic situation in Israel/Palestine

Apart from the historical rights and moral high-ground, the Palestinians also have a strategic advantage over Zionism, namely the demographic asset. According to the prominent Israeli demographer Della Pergula, there are already more non-Jews than Jews between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean.

"We have already reached the demographic critical mass. The establishment of a Palestinian state now is therefore more of an urgent Israeli need than a Palestinian need," Pergula says. But the possibility for establishing a viable Palestinian state no longer exists in light of the phenomenal expansion of Jewish settlements already mentioned. More to the point, the concept of a bi-national state is anathema for most Israelis as it would mean the end of Israel as a "Jewish state." Hence, the problem.

There are millions of Israelis who would think the unthinkable, including expelling large number of Palestinians. But expulsion can't be carried out without some sort of open genocide. In addition, the Palestinians have thoroughly learned and imbibed the lessons of 1948 and would never leave their country. They would rather die in their homes, towns and villages than give Zionists the joy of watching them repeat the Nakba scenario.

The Israeli Zionists have already committed huge and numerous crimes against the Palestinian people. Needless to say, committing still more crimes would be suicidal and fraught with grave consequences for Israel and Jews.

In the final analysis, the repetition of what happened in 1948 could speed up the process of Israel's demise and extinction.

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