The Crisis

The state of Israel came into existence in Palestine in May 1948 after a long collaboration between Britain, who was in control of Palestine since the end of the First World War, and the Zionist Organisation.

Jewish forces in Palestine took over 78% of Palestinian lands by force of arms to create the Jewish state of Israel.

The United Nations accepted Israel as member of its organisation (Resolution 273) with the understanding that Israel would accept and adopt the UN Charter. The UN charter does not accept any acquisition of land by military occupation or the creation of refugees as a result of such occupation.

Most of the native inhabitants of Palestine (750,000 Palestinian Arabs) were forced out of their homes in 1948/49 and became refugees either in neighbouring Arab states (Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) or in what was left of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza). The few thousand Palestinians who remained in Palestine became Israeli citizens but never enjoyed the same rights as Israeli Jews.

Denying all human or legal rights to Palestinians became the entrenched policy of the new Israel. The right of return for refugees is guaranteed by the International Law but no Palestinians were allowed to go back to their homes.

Immediately following the declaration of the Jewish State a comprehensive policy began by Israel to change the nature of historic Palestine. More than 420 Palestinian villages were raised to the ground. Traditional Arab names of sites, places and roads were replaced with Hebrew ones. Israeli ordinance maps do not show any historical links between Palestinians and their home land.

Israel launched its third war, the Six Day War against its neighbouring Arab states in 1967 and managed to occupy the rest of Palestine; the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.  The United Nation did not recognise the occupation and called upon Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories (UN resolution 242). Israel rejected the resolution and started implementing a system of brutal military control over the occupied territories. All subsequent UN resolutions to end the occupation were ignored by Israel.

Against the Geneva Convention and many UN resolutions, Israel has adopted a policy of land confiscation and settlement building throughout the occupied territories. Jewish settlers are invited to take up homes in new settlements and encouraged to do so with prices lower than anywhere else in Israel and with free interest loans.

Any Jew from anywhere in the world is welcome to settle in Palestine under the protection of the Israeli army while native Palestinians are not allowed to build new homes or even repair old homes without Israeli military permits that are rarely granted.

More than 121 large settlements have been built on confiscated lands and are connected to each other and to Israel with “Jewish only” main roads that are built on Palestinian land.

Over 122 smaller settlements (outposts) have so far been established by Israeli settlers on confiscated Palestinian lands. These are usually the first stage in setting up permanent settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Israeli settles enjoy full Israeli citizenship and are subjects to Israeli civil laws while neighbouring Palestinians are governed by military rules that restrict all aspects of their lives.     

All Israeli settlements are separated from Palestinians towns or villages by a ten metre high wall that Israel started building in 2006 and would stretch for more than 420 miles when finished. The Wall surrounds many Palestinian towns or villages, separates farm lands from its owners and adds further obstacles to all means of communications between Palestinian communities.

All Palestinian roads are under military control with permanent checkpoints outside every village or town while temporary or flying checkpoints by the Israeli army may appear anywhere and anytime.

 Palestinians have no control over their water resources or energy supplies, no freedom of movement or travel, no free access to the outside world and no rights to civic laws. Their homes are demolished by the Israeli army for any reason that suits an Israeli military court. Palestinian children are arrested and detained by Israeli forces for months on end without access to any legal representation or even communications with their families.

Brutal force has been the trade mark for Israel from the time of its inception to the present day. It has defied all international laws about occupation and treatment of people under occupation. It has ignored many UN resolutions regarding Palestinian human rights and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. It had even felt safe to defy the wishes of its main supporter, the USA, when President Obama requested a freeze on settlement activities as part of his, now defunct, Middle East peace plan.

It has to be said that in the end of all discussions and debates about the Middle East Crisis, the simple fact remains that the ultimate aim of the Zionist Movement has always been to establish a state for the Jews in Palestine.

Palestine has always been inhabited by the Palestinians who, naturally, would not give up their homeland.

In order for the Zionists to achieve their aim the Palestinians have to evacuate their homeland and if they would not do it willingly, they would have to be forced to do so. And that was exactly what the Zionist Movement had set up its unlimited resources of finance and political ties to achieve.  

The outcome was the state of Israel in 1948 and the price was the ethnic cleansing of Palestine from its native inhabitants.

                                                                                                          Y OTHMAN

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