Mahtama Gandhi: “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home” (3rd March, 1939)
Nelson Mandela : “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Yasser Aarfat : “”We accept two states, the Palestine state and the Jewish state of Israel.” (8thDecember, 1988)
Benjamin Netanyahu : “There will no Palestinian state on my watch” (16th March, 2015)
Donald Trump : “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” (6th December, 2017)
Even as global public opinion continues to condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestine, we are deeply perturbed by the fact that PM Modi has chosen to invite an alleged war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu to India on the 14th January 2018, even as the Israeli colonisation project intensifies. Thus the growing Indo-Israeli strategic ties are a great cause for national concern and clearly a betrayal of our anti-colonial legacy, of our very own independence struggle.
Even as the courageous Palestinian people continue to struggle for the liberation of their land, it is clear that the Israeli-US alliance has no intention for a just resolution and the establishment of a Palestinian state.
In the recent past 138 nations of the world have recognised and voted on the 29th November 2012 to welcome Palestine into the comity of nations. Trump’s disastrous declaration on Jerusalem, ominously issued on the 6th of December, was also rejected & defeated, when 128 nations voted against the US at the UNGA & by 14-1 at the UNSC. India too voted along with the nations of the world, thus preserving our legacy. Clearly the US & Israel stand isolated in the international arena.
The Trump declaration on Jerusalem, unilaterally handing over Jerusalem to the Israeli occupation, poses a threat to both the region & world peace. The Israeli strategy of “Judaisation” is rightly perceived as a threat by the Palestinian Muslims & Christians. Extremist Zionist Jews have threatened to destroy the Islamic & Christian holy sites, namely the Al Aqsa Masjid, the Dome of the Rock & the Church of the Holy Sepulchre & rebuild the Jewish Temple. Thus the Trump declaration has faced widespread anger &opposition from mainstream Christians, Muslims and Jews, as well as the secular international peace and solidarity movements.
Worse, Netanyahu’s extreme far-right Likud Party has passed a resolution annexing all of the West Bank to Israel (31stDecmeber 2017). Thus Netanyahu’s hardline positions leave no hope for a negotiated settlement towards a Two-State Solution.
Clearly world public opinion is on the side of the Palestinian nation. There exists a global consensus based on International Laws & key UN Resolutions, namely – 242, 338, 194 and 478 that call for a Two-State Solution, with both Palestine & Israel living side by side. These resolutions called for Two-States on the 1967 borders, with East and West Jerusalem as their shared capital & protected the legal “Right of Return” of the Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed by the Israeli army in 1947-48.
Yet it is Israel that is the greatest impediment for a peaceful & just solution, where time and again every Israeli leader has reneged on their international commitments. This is also the reason as to why the UN has passed more than 40 resolutions condemning Israeli violations and the violent wars of oppression against the Palestinian people.
On their part the Palestinians have made a historical compromise way back in 1988 when they accepted a Palestinian state on only 22% of historic Palestine, whilst giving away 78% to Israel occupying power.
In terms of a short history, Israel was the creation of the British Empire. It was in the aftermath of WWI when Lord Balfour (Foreign Secretary) issued a letter to Lord Roths child (leading Jewish Zionist Banker), granting Palestine to create a Jewish homeland. It was a British payback for the bankrolling of the war effort by the Rothschild’s.
From there onwards European Jewish migration was facilitated by the British, even as Jews were escaping pogroms in Europe. Thus the Palestinian people were made to pay for the crimes of the European persecution of the Jewish people. In the post WW II scenario due to the overwhelming power of the British and the USA, an Israeli state was created on historic Palestine. During the flawed partition mandated by the UN in 1946, the Jews who constituted 33% of the population& owned 10% of the land were given 56% of the land. Thus the Palestinians rejected the partition of their country along religious lines. The UNGA vote in May 14, 1948 called for the partition of Palestine, even though the UN has no right to partition any country. But backed by the British & USA, the vote was manipulated and passed. India voted against the partition & was on the right side of history.
In the war that followed in 1948, more than half the Palestinian population was ethnically cleansed by the Israeli army and an entire nation destroyed. In 1948 the Israelis captured 78% of the land including West Jerusalem. In the next war of aggression in 1967, the Israelis captured all of Palestine, which included East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. It was during this phase that key UN Resolutions sought to resolve the issue on the basis of a Two-State solution.
The Israeli Zionist agenda was to always ethnically cleanse the population and to conquer of all the land of historic Palestine and even beyond. Thus even as they paid lip-service to the so-called “Oslo Peace Process” and UN resolutions they continued to oppress the Palestinian population, takeover their land & deepen the occupation by creating ‘facts on the ground’.
The Israeli plans continue to unfold right before the eyes of the international community, as they build “Settlements” in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, thus ending any hope of a viable contiguous Palestinian state. The 2.5 Million Palestinian population in the West Bank is surrounded by the massive “Apartheid Wall”, a monstrous cement andconcrete wall, 8 metres in height and 750 kilometres long, thus creating an open-air-prison-cum-concentration-camp. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is even worse, where the 1.8 million people live under a state of an inhuman siege.
The International Criminal Court has taken serious note of all these war crimes for which Netanyahu is facing criminal charges. But due to the protection of the US, the Israeli regime gets away with pure murder and genocide.
It is also a myth that Israel is a great military power and can be a strategically beneficial for India. This myth of Israeli invincibility has been shattered in subsequent Israeli defeats at the hands of the resistance in Lebanon & Palestine, as well as in Syria and Iraq. Thus a close alliance with Israel is detrimental to our national political, economic & strategic interests.
Thus the worrying aspect of PM Modi’s foreign and strategic policy is the close alliance with Imperial US and Israel, who are the greatest threats to world peace and stability. In the current international scenario, the US and Israel are in an open alliance with the Islamic Wahhabi extremists who are spreading terror and mayhem across the Middle-East and beyond. The alliance of Hindutva and Zionism is also cause for great concern both in the national and international context. This, even as the balance of power continues to move away from a West in certain state of decline, even as new nations and alliances which include Russia, China & India, have emerged on the horizon.
Despite the massive odds, the Palestinian people continue to resist the occupation and strive for their freedom and their dream of a sovereign independent nation. The Palestinian “Intifada”, the “Uprising” against the Israeli occupation continues to inspire billions across the world.
Of importance is also the fact that, as Israeli atrocities increasenew symbols of resistance are arising from within Palestinian society. The emergence of Ahed Tamimi, a brave 16 year old Palestinian girl has captivated the imagination of the world with her courage and sacrifice. More than 300 Palestinian children have been imprisoned and Israel is facing worldwide condemnation but to no avail. Increasingly the Israeli army is perceived as only good at brutalising women and children, an army that spreads a reign of terror to maintain the occupation.
In the West too, liberal Jews, especially the youth and students, are increasingly voicing their protests and opposition to the violence &andthe occupation. In the US too there is recognition of the fact that the Jewish Zionist Lobby poses a threat to US sovereignty &andnational security. The “Boycott Israel” movement continues to gather momentum across the world, even as the international solidarity movements for Palestine are far more widespread and active than the anti-war movements for Vietnam or the anti-apartheid movements in solidarity with South Africa.
To support the Palestinian cause, to oppose Netanyahu’s visit to our country, is therefore to abide by the legacy of our own freedom struggle, to stand with the nations of the world, to stand for the values of universal justice, freedom and peace.
Dr. Suresh Khairnar, National President
Feroze Mithiborwala, National General Secretary