The UN-created problem in Palestine -the arbitrary setting up of the state of Israel- on Palestinian land continues to fester to this day, with continued evictions of Palestinians and seizure of their homes and lands.
Approximately 750,000 Palestinians were displaced and became refugees as a result of the 1948 war, in the lead up to the founding of Israel. None of these displaced persons were ever allowed to return to the homes or communities from which they were displaced. The Palestinian refugee population has continued to grow ever since.
Today there are more than seven million Palestinian refugees -being, those Palestinians who fled, were expelled, or forced from their homes in the area of historic Palestine or who have been refused re-entry to their homes and now live scattered around the world. More than 5.6 million of these people are registered with UNRWA as refugees since 2019.
The continued Israeli expulsion of Palestinians based on their ethnicity and/or religion brings to mind ‘Polenaktion’ (Polish Action) carried out by Hitler and his fellow Nazis against Polish Jews and refers to the arrest and expulsion of about 17,000 Polish Jews living in Nazi Germany in October 1938. These deportations, displaced thousands of Polish Jews along the German-Polish border.
It raises the question as to how a people who went through the horrors inflicted on their forefathers under Hitler’s genocidal campaigns, can today cold-bloodedly perpetrate those self-same strategies against another set of human beings based on differences of religion and ethnicity.
Even today Palestinians continue being expelled from their homes by Israeli occupation forces, and the Palestinian refugee issue is at the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
On August 2, Israel’s Supreme Court adjourned an appeal of four Palestinian families against their forced expulsion from the Sheikh Jarrah – a Palestinian neighbourhood in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, close to the Old City and its holy sites. The case involves Palestinians who face losing their homes in a part of Jerusalem they have lived in for decades.
Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, while to Palestinians East Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state. The Israeli claim is not recognised by the UN nor is it part of the UN partition plan through which the State of Israel was founded.
After the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war, Jerusalem, where Arabs and Jewish people had lived side by side, was divided between the state of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan.
Jewish people were displaced from eastern Jerusalem and Palestinians from the western half of the city. In the aftermath of the war, the UN helped resettle displaced Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah
War broke out again in June 1967 and, Israel occupied East Jerusalem and applied its own laws. In 1970, it introduced a law to process the competing ownership claims in places such as Sheikh Jarrah. Palestinians, however, have no power to recover property they lost in West Jerusalem, or elsewhere in Israel
In Sheikh Jarrah Israel is attempting to evict Palestinians and hand the lands to Israeli settlers. In the conflict which arose in May this year over Israel’s attempt to evict Palestinians from their homes, 138 Palestinians died. Over 1,800 housing units were demolished in Israel’s airstrikes, while over 16,800 or more housing units were partially damaged. More than 120,000 Palestinians were displaced from their homes, while 66 schools were also damaged in Israeli bombardments.
The question that arises, is what makes the one-time victims of genocide, change into a nation hell-bent on ethnically cleansing and perpetrating actions described as ‘crimes of war’ against a long-suffering population, who had had been living in the region prior to the establishment of the newer state?
For too long the world watched the illegal actions of the State of Israel against the Palestinians. Faced with Israel’s continued transgressions and in the aftermath of the recent actions -fighting in Gaza- of which Sheikh Jarrah is part of, the United Nations’ top human rights body voted on May 27 to appoint a Commission of Inquiry with unusually broad latitude to investigate possible war crimes and other abuses committed in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Commission is not limited to looking just at hostilities in Gaza and the West Bank, but instead has been charged with examining “all underlying root causes of recurrent tensions, instability and protraction of conflict, including systematic discrimination and repression based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity.”
Perhaps this latest action of the world body may help bring an end to the ethnic cleansing of the people of Palestine in their own lands by the people who suffered genocidal campaigns under Hitler’s Nazi campaigns.
Disclaimer: Eviction of Palestinians - Ethnic cleansing by other means - dailymirror - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view