Moral standing for Palestine

Taufiq Ahmed

THE United States, which until its decision to shift its embassy to Jerusalem, was viewed as a broker for peace. On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced the United States recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the planning of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On February 23, 2018, the State Department announced the new US embassy will open in May. The US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. On the other hand, the Israeli army massacre, the Bloody Monday Massacre, in Gaza on May 14, 2018, which deliberately killed 62 Palestinians with pre-positioned snipers and injured some 2100 in one day, follows a series of never-ending campaigns of torment and maiming intended at erasing Palestine and its population from the map.
The anniversary of the Nakba is observed on May 15 each year to preserve the memory of what is known as the “catastrophe” – the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the land comprising the modern state of Israel. Palestinians are again in mourning, commemorating 70 years since their catastrophe, which resulted from the creation of Israel in their homeland. They are still seeking their legitimate rights, principally their right to return home. Not anymore. The Palestinians may be on their own in a sense after a dishonest broker in the form of a superpower left their ranks as the world focuses on other problems. But that has not diminished their will to fight against forces that may appear bigger than them. To keep the momentum going in these circumstances is challenging, yet the Palestinian leadership is mounting a legal challenge and pursuing all options. They must be commended for their deft art of diplomacy and appealing to the conscience of institutions for justice that they deserve after Israel denied them their rights for seven decades. This is a fight for dignity and to stay motivated under such pressure is a tribute to their persistence.
What is troubling is that supposedly civilised nations who claim they fight for equality and human rights, including those holding the highest offices of state, have adopted this narrative, or at least continue to support Israel despite the facts that are there for all to see. While people across the globe sympathise with Palestinians and understand Israel’s crimes, the political elite refuse to represent their citizens and continue to support Israel when, had its actions been committed against their own citizens or against Jews, they would not rest until it was punished. How can anyone explain to Palestinians the stance of the US in recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s, but not Palestine’s, capital? How can western leaders support Israel’s claim to self-defence when it kills and maims thousands of Palestinians in major wars against Gaza, or the daily trickle of killings in the West Bank? The world’s silence as Israeli snipers used sophisticated weapons, including some supplied by the West, to pick off Palestinian civilians one by one as they marched to return home through the Gaza border has been deafening. The silence in the face of the deaths and injuries of medics and journalists has been particularly galling.
The common point of among all the problems in the Middle East Palestine stands at first level and the key to world peace is the Jerusalem issue. Despite all the efforts made and the time put into this, we are still far from the solution. Of course, the double standard imposed by the international system, political and economic impositions have a great role in this. Furthermore, the current relation of the Arab states that view Israel as a strategic ally is born out of the same logic and way of thinking that gave birth to settler colonialism and a divide-and-conquer strategy. The Western powers that look the other way when it comes to Israel’s nuclear weapons are on overdrive to punish and attack Iran for a supposed nuclear program and any country that possibly seeks to challenge Israel’s hegemony in the region. Empowering Israel with weapons and all types of technological advancement in armament, while denying or attacking anyone in the region that might challenge these points, makes the Western powers accomplices in the dispossession and in the crimes committed against the Palestinians.
Until the “international community” takes the appropriate steps towards Israel, it will stand to be guilty of being part of the problem and not finding any meaningful solution. Providing foreign aid and medical supplies to Gaza and the West Bank, while badly needed, is an act that prolongs the suffering of the Palestinians and acts as a global emergency room for the Israeli crimes. What is needed is a clear and unambiguous call for Palestinian freedom, dignity and self-determination! Nothing else suffice and everything else only serves Israel’s interests. At this question that what should be done for Palestine? More than an aid campaign is necessary to solve the Palestine issue. The greatest help that can be made to Palestine and Palestinians, who have been displaced and become refugees, whose ownership rights have been restricted in their own homeland, whose foundations which they inherited from history have been looted, would be to bring them together with their history. The old settlement areas, villages, graves and as a matter of fact, the graveyards are no longer in the memories of the millions of refugees. Even the names of these places, which were burned down and destroyed, have been forgotten. In other words, the new generations of Palestinians whose grandfathers and fathers faced physical injustice, have also been mentally deprived with their forgotten history.
— The writer is Lecturer at University of Gujrat.

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