Since the violent birth of Israel on May 14, 1948, in what was originally the State of Palestine, ‘Brittanica’ estimates that of the number of Arabs displaced from their original homes, villages, and neighborhoods during the period from December 1947 to January 1949 range from about 520,000 to about 1,000,000.
More than 400 Arab villages also disappeared.
Despite the Israeli violence which preceded the setting up of that state, and the fact that Israel was illegally occupying Palestinian territory, on May 11, 1949, the UN General Assembly by a vote of 37 to 12, with 9 abstentions, admitted Israel as a member state.
Approximately 150,000 Arabs remained in Israel when the Israeli state was founded. This group represented about one-eighth of all Palestinians and by 1952, roughly the same proportion of the Israeli population.
The majority of them lived in villages in western Galilee. Much of their land was confiscated, Arabs were forced to abandon agriculture and become unskilled wage labourers working in Jewish industries and construction companies.
As citizens of the State of Israel, in theory are guaranteed equal religious and civil rights with the Jews. In reality, they continue to live under a military jurisdiction that imposes severe restrictions on their political options and freedom of movement.
More recently; since the co-option of extreme right-wing forces into the government of Israel last year, Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians kept increasing. According to the Palestinian health ministry, since the start of this year (2023), Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, including 26 children.
Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper) quoting data collected by the UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said, Israeli settlers have been involved in an average of 95 monthly attacks against Palestinians from the beginning of the year until June 26.
According to the report, hundreds of Jewish-Israelis participated in about 570 attacks of various types. Approximately 160 of these attacks caused physical injuries – that’s three attacks a day.
As if this were not bad enough, today Israel illegally occupies around 27,000 cubic metres of land, accounting for 85% of historical Palestine”.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Council report of March 28, 2023, between 2012 to 2022, the population of Israeli settlers in the illegally-occupied West Bank, (including East Jerusalem) has grown from 520,000 to over 700,000. These settlers lived illegally in 279 Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank, including 14 settlements in the occupied East Jerusalem. A total population of more than 229,000 people.
The report adds that during the past decade, the United Nations had verified 3,372 violent incidents by settlers injuring 1,222 Palestinians. Last year, settler violence reached the highest levels ever recorded by the United Nations. Israel had failed to investigate and prosecute crimes against Palestinians committed by settlers and Israeli forces.
The latest reports of ‘B’Tselem’ and ‘Human Rights Watch’ – concluded that Israel is committing Crimes Against Humanity (CAH) of apartheid and persecution. The report exposed the level of domination and segregation Israel has been imposing on the Palestinian people.
However, despite the number of UN General Assembly and Security Council (UNSC) resolutions condemning Israeli policies, only a little action taken to help the Palestinian people achieve their right to self-determination and to end the prolonged Israeli occupation.
When apartheid was practiced in the then white-ruled South Africa, nearly all countries of the world condemned the apartheid regime in South Africa and many countries even imposed a ban on South African exports.
The US however, remained the exception. It backed the apartheid regime and opposed the ban on South African exports. Instead, the US declared the African National Congress (ANC) which led the South African struggle for independence ‘terrorists’. In like manner today the US refers to those who fight back against the injustices committed by Israel as terrorists.
For how long will the world stand idly as Palestinian lives are being destroyed?
Palestinian lives do matter and its time to hold the occupier accountable and bring him/her to justice.