Recently, out of mere curiosity and a sense of responsibility as a citizen of the world, I have decided to get myself further involved in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. What do I mean by “involved”? I simply wanted to educate myself by reading a heap of articles and watch a lot of interviews posted on the internet – non-mainstream media interviews, of course – so that I could have the sufficient information needed engage in an open conversation with anyone about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed that not a lot of people in Australia know that much about the whole conflict and didn’t not know why Australia decided for the first time in history not to vote in favour of Israel during the recent U.N General Assembly vote in which an overwhelming majority — 138 in favour Verses 9 against (United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Israel, Panama and four tiny islands), with 41 abstentions (including Australia), accorded Palestine non-Member Observer State status in the United Nations (which means Palestine has been recognized as a state for the first time since the conflict started). I also strongly believe that in order for world peace to happen, people need to be enlightened about the wars that are going on in the world.
First of all, in order to understand the conflict, we need to be familiar with its historical context, so here it is in brief detail.
In the 19th century the land of Palestine was inhabited by a multicultural population – approximately 86% Muslim, 10% Christian, and 4% Jewish – living in peace.
In the late 1800s a group in Europe decided to colonize this land. Known as Zionists, they represented an extremist minority of the Jewish population. Their goal was to create a Jewish homeland, and they considered locations in Africa and the Americas, before settling on Palestine.
At first, this immigration created no problems. However, as more and more Zionists immigrated to Palestine – many with the express wish of taking over the land for a Jewish state – the indigenous population became increasingly alarmed. Eventually, fighting broke out, with escalating waves of violence. Hitler’s rise to power, combined with Zionist activities to sabotage efforts to place Jewish refugees in western countries, led to increased Jewish immigration to Palestine, and conflict grew.
Finally, in 1947 the United Nations decided to intervene. Under considerable Zionist pressure, the UN recommended giving away 55% of Palestine to a Jewish state – despite the fact that this group represented only about 30% of the total population, and owned under 7% of the land.
This created the 1947-1949 war, in which five Arab armies participated in to defend Palestine from the invasion. It is significant to note that Arab armies entered the conflict only after Zionist forces had committed 16 massacres, including the grisly massacre of over 100 men, women, and children at Deir Yassin.
By the end of the war, Israel had conquered 78% of Palestine; three-quarters of a million Palestinians had been made refugees; over 500 towns and villages had been obliterated; and a new map was drawn up, in which every city, river and hillock received a new, Hebrew name, as all vestiges of the Palestinian culture were to be erased. For decades Israel denied the existence of this population, even former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once said: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian.”
It is also significant to consider the U.S involvement in this issue, largely due to special-interest lobbying. U.S. taxpayers give Israel an average of $8 million per day, and since Israel’s creation, have given more U.S. funds to Israel than to any other nation. As Americans learn about how Israel is using their tax dollars, many are calling for an end to this expenditure.
Now, let’s fast forward to today. Not a lot has changed, I must say, as Palestinians are still made to be refugees on a daily basis as Israeli settlement expansions continue to break international law and take over more Palestinian lands. As news of Palestinian Civilians being killed is a normal occurrence on every day news channels, think it’s about time this insanity is put to an end.
Moreover, knowing the historical background of the conflict, and knowing that under the Geneva Convention laws Palestinians have the right to defend themselves against illegal occupation of their lands, Gilad Sharon, the son of Israel’s 11th Prime Minister (Ariel Sharon) wrote an Op-ed written in the opinions section of the Jerusalem Post newspaper during “Operation Pillar of Defence” which took place on the 14th of November 2012, a couple of weeks prior to the U.N vote entitled “A decisive conclusion is necessary”. As a human being, it was more than repulsive to read this article. Until this day I ponder how The Jerusalem Post, “the world’s top English-language daily newspaper covering Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World” approved this article. These are a few lines quoted from that article;
“Either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip.”
“We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”
These are words of a lunatic, not of a civilized human being. No one deserves to have their city flattened out, not in the 21st century, not after history taught us valuable lessons about world wars.
Not a lot has changed since the conflict started way back in 1946, as Palestinians are still made to be refugees and are struggling to achieve some basic human rights on a daily basis. However, I believe that with a more aware population, efforts towards peace will be increased immensely, and that’s where we come in!
I may be one example, but it is evident that the world’s view and people’s consciousness is shifting as Israel is exposed for its continuous brutality and war driven terrorizing mentality. The world wants peace, and hand by hand we hopefully will have a stable peaceful Palestinian-Israel two state solution soon!