The 11-day war between Gaza and Israel
The shock waves of the recent 11-day war between Gaza and Israel, between 10 May and 21 May 2021, have still been reverberating throughout the world. Demonstrators around the world thronged the streets in support of Palestine; there were about 200,000 protesters in a London demonstration on 22 May 2021, which was the largest in British history in support of Palestine. Ireland broke away from European hypocrisy, and its Parliament voted unanimously on 26 May 2021 to condemn Israel’s “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land in the occupied territories, being the first EU member state to do so.
The pressure, led by the US Representative Rashida Tlaib, within the Biden Administration, was so great that Biden was compelled to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza-Israel war, which he did jointly with Egypt, even though Netanyahu on 16 May 2021 instructed his bombing campaign in Gaza “to continue at full force” and asserted that “We are acting now, for as long as necessary, to restore calm”, meaning death and destruction of Palestinians.
Biden himself is a staunch Zionist. In 2007, during an interview conducted by the Jewish Shalom TV, Biden said, “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist”, and called Israel “the single greatest strength America has in the Middle East”. Biden called Netanyahu on 15 May 2021 and said, “Israel has right to defend itself“, throwing his support behind Israel, without mentioning that Palestine too has right to defend itself. But because of pressure within the Administration, and the demonstrations, he had to abruptly change his mind and call for a ceasefire. The power of the protesters reminds us that the torrents of demonstrations, within the US and around the world, were one of the main reasons why the US Administration was compelled to stop the Vietnam War.
Why did the demonstrators support Palestine?
So, why did the demonstrators, in support of Palestine, flood the streets around the world? Because the pain in Palestine is felt around the world, and the pain in any place in the world is felt everywhere in the world. That is so, because all humanity is just one family, which wants to live in peace and harmony. But will the anti-people, arrogant and obstinate section of the leaders in the world lend their ears to the grassroots people? It is better that they start doing so. As one of the grassroots people, I would advocate that the anti-people leaders heed the worldwide protests, as eventually due to public pressure, they will be left with only two options to: either listen to the grassroots people or resign. We will certainly achieve people’s globalization with peace and harmony.
Victory of the Palestinians
The ceasefire of the Gaza-Israel war came into effect on 21 May 2021. It has many easily discernible features which indicate a wind of change. As the ceasefire took effect, the Palestinians came out in the streets celebrating victory. They observed Eid on that day! They said, “In the past we have been fighting by throwing brickbats and stones, and using catapults. But this time, we fired homemade rockets!”
The Israelis, on the other hand, also claimed victory, but no one was out on the streets. Shortly after the ceasefire, the Mossad chief was sacked for his lack of knowledge about the Gaza missiles. Also, Israel incurred heavy financial costs in trying to intercept the rockets from Gaza. The Palestinians in Gaza fired more than 4,000 rockets, each of these home-made rockets cost $300 to $800, whereas, each of the intercepting rockets from the iron dome in Israel cost $50,000 to $100,000. The Gaza missiles may also have been a factor or a catalyst for the removal of Netanyahu as the premier, after 20 years.
Change of situation and hope for Palestine
There are other factors to consider. Firstly, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and other Muslim countries have now been producing reasonable amounts of arms, and have been developing as military powers. So, the power equations in the world have been changing. Secondly, the geo-political situation in the Middle-East has been changing rapidly, with China, Russia and Turkey playing important roles, while, on the other hand, the US, Israel, and India have been declining rapidly, thus weakening the US-Israel-India axis. Thirdly, there is a tremendous amount of public support for Palestine worldwide. So, there is a lot of hope for Palestine in the future and the solution for the Palestinian problem may not remain ever elusive anymore.
In the present situation, the UN Security Council observed on 27 May 2021: “Escalating tensions between Palestinians and Israelis erupted into hostilities between 10 May and 21 May, during which 253 Palestinians were killed by 1,500-plus Israeli air strikes while nine Israelis and three foreign nationals were killed by the 4,000-plus rockets launched by Hamas and other militants from Gaza. Further, nearly 2,000 housing and commercial units in at least 258 buildings were destroyed and 112,000 people were displaced”.
The Palestinians must fight on
About Palestine, three points need to be taken into consideration: (i) Israeli genocide of the Palestinians, (ii) 7 million evicted Palestinian refugees scattered in the world, who have the right to return to Palestine, and (iii) only 15% of the original Palestine is now left under some control of the Palestinians, the remaining 85% have been occupied by Israel. This genocide and colonial occupation with apartheid, was possible only with the conspiratorial collaboration and support of the Western powers. The Palestinians, thus, haven’t got any other alternatives except for resisting as much as possible. Israel is hellbent in trying to occupy the remaining 15% of Palestine. The curtain, of course, has not yet fallen. The fight is on. In view of the changed circumstances, the Palestinians may come out better off in the struggle. Also, there is a large section in the Muslim world who are determined to defeat Israeli genocide, colonial occupation, expansionism and apartheid. The struggles are getting heightened. The people will win in the end!
The UN resolution versus Israel’s plan of greater Israel
About the solutions of the Palestinian problem, Wikipedia states, “In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, which was rejected by Arab leaders. In 1974, a UN resolution on the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” called for “two States, Israel and Palestine … side by side within secure and recognized borders” together with “a just resolution of the refugee question in conformity with UN resolution 1947”. The borders of the state of Palestine would be “based on the pre-1967 borders”. The latest resolution, in November 2013, was passed 165 to 6, with 6 abstentions; with Israel and the United States voting against. The Palestinian leadership has embraced the concept since the 1982 Arab Summit in Fez.
But Israel wants to grab the entire Palestine with a future plan to create a Greater Israel. Israel drew up a Balkanisation of Middle East plan, which is known as the Oded Yinon plan of 1982, the idea being breaking up the Middle Eastern countries into mutually warring little states and creating a “Greater Israel” from the Euphrates to the Nile. These plans are well-known.
Creation of a Jewish state after 2,000 years
Historically, there were many places proposed for the creation of a Jewish state. In 1820, there was a proposal for Grand Island in the Niagara river, between Ontario in Canada and New York in the US. The British-Uganda plan in 1903, in response to anti-Jewish pogrom in Russia, offered to establish a Jewish state at Mau Plateau in Kenya, which was then in British East Africa. The proposal was accepted by the World Jewish Organization, but later the plan was dropped for fear of lions and other animals, and the indigenous people, who would not accept outsiders. From 1928 there was a plan to create a Jewish autonomous region in Russia with Birobidzhan, near the Chinese border, as its center, but it was dropped by mid-1930s, although from 1934 Birobidzhan became a center of Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
There are claims of a plan made in 1934 for the creation of a Jewish autonomous region in Japan. There was a plan by Nazi Germany to forcibly relocate the Jewish population of Europe to the island of Madagascar in Africa. The British, French, and Polish governments had all contemplated the idea. The plan was dropped in 1940. In 1939, there was a British plan to resettle the Jewish refugees in British Guiana, present Guiana. The plan was dropped in 1940. The fascist government of Italy wanted to resettle the Jewish people to Italian East Africa, but the plan was not implemented. There was an Australian plan to resettle the Jewish people to Tasmania.
There had been many other proposals, but the plan that was taken up finally, was the British colonial plan, known as the Balfour Declaration of 1917. With the defeat of the Ottoman (Osman) empire of Turkey in WWI, Britain got the Mandate for Palestine. According to the British-French treaty, the Sykes–Picot Agreement, the Turkish empire in the Middle East was divided between the two countries, Britain and France. The British got the control of what is today southern Israel and Palestine, Jordan and southern Iraq, and an additional small area that included the ports of Haifa and Acre to allow access to the Mediterranean, while France got control of South-Eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.
With the British mandate of Palestine, European Jewish people started settling in Palestine in large numbers, and finally the State of Israel was created in Palestine, on 14 May 1948, establishing the first Jewish state in 2,000 years. This brought Nakba (catastrophe) to the Muslim Palestinians, as the Palestinian land was occupied and more than 700,000 Palestinians were evicted in 1948 alone. As mentioned above, today there are 7 million evicted Palestinians scattered in the world.
Obstinacy of the Western leaders
The problem of Palestine has remained unsolved for 73 years now, because of the unjust and obstinate stand of the West, where Ireland this year has been a noble and notable exception. On 28 June 2021, as Israeli President Rivlin visited the White House, Biden said the U.S. commitment to Israel is “ironclad”; Rivlin said Israel has “no greater friend and ally than the United States of America”. So, Biden has full support for the Israeli genocide of Palestinians, and its colonial occupation and apartheid, which stands in total contrast to Biden’s bold and very welcome declared policy of advancing human rights and democracy around the world. We must remind Biden, and the G7 leaders, who agreed on a “series of mechanisms to promote human rights and democracy” across the world, that the grassroots people of the world understand the difference between words and deeds, and that they also can see the selective use of human rights and democracy around the world.
Option of creating a Jewish state in a new location
Recently, in an article, The War on Gaza: There is Only One Road Out, by two Nobel laureates, Muhammad Yunus and José Ramos-Horta, the two Nobel laureates asserted, “urgent need for the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. The only other option is a unified state composed of Israelis and Palestinians, with the recognition that Palestinians would be the majority. There are no other options.”
While the majority of the Muslims in Palestine accept that, the Jewish Israelis, and the other Jewish people living elsewhere, have been defying the UN resolution of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, and they wouldn’t accept living together in peace and harmony in unified Palestine where they would be minority to the Muslims. In the past, as shown above, the creation of an Israeli state was contemplated and tried in various parts of the world. That option can still be taken up. An Israeli state can be created in the US, or in the UK, or in Europe, and the Jewish people from the present Israel can be resettled in the new location.
Writings on the wall for Palestine’s adversaries
The world powers have so far failed to solve the Palestine problem and to protect its people. The Palestinian people have no other alternative left, except for fighting on. They have friends in the grassroots of people throughout the world. Their present may be fraught with death and destruction, imposed by colonialism, expansionism and apartheid of Israel, but the future of the Palestinians is looking bright, and at least the recent 11-day war between Gaza and Israel ended in victory for the Palestinians.
With the change of circumstances, the new power equations, the developing Muslim powers, the decline of US-Israel-India axis, and the change in geo-politics, as mentioned above, have been making favorable grounds for further victory for Palestine in the future. The anti-people, arrogant and obstinate section of the leaders of the world must start listening to the grassroots people of the world, they must start reading the writings on the wall.
*The writer is a London-based political analyst, commentator and a former activist and columnist constantly campaigning for Freedom, Democracy, Justice, Human Rights and Harmonious Development in Bangladesh. He appeared many times on Bengali TV talk shows in London speaking on the political affairs of Bangladesh. A retired computer consultant with a Master’s degree in Mathematics, he left his PhD studies in the UK to travel to Kolkata, India, in 1971 to join the Independence War of Bangladesh. He is the President of The Coalition for Human Rights & Democracy in Bangladesh, a nonprofit organization based in the US.
July 2, 2021
Disclaimer: Hope for Palestine By Zoglul Husain - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view