Al Naqba – Part 2

People should be allowed to criticize Israel and Palestine, without being called anti-semitic or labeled as Islamophobes.

In my experience, most people who read the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will inevitably side with the Palestinian perspective.

In most of my conversations with Americans and Canadians, about 9/11 and the direct link it had to the occupation of Palestine, I was astounded at the lack of knowledge that most of the public had about the subject. Neither did anyone seem to draw any connection to the attacks of September 11th.

But how could they? And most importantly, why should they?

Media sources in the West who have in the past provided any information about Israel and Palestine, have skillfully obscured the most basic facts about when and how this whole conflict began. You have to spend a significant amount of time reading all the facts, sifting through disinformation before deciphering the real truth.

And many of the people I spoke with had jobs and real lives to lead! The only exposure ordinary individuals would have was a few minutes watching late night news.

In the late nineteenth century, Theodore Herzl, an Austrian Jew and ideological founder of Israel, wrote a short book called Judenstaat. He wrote his book during a time when Jewish people were facing rising persecution across Europe.

In his book, he proposed an exclusive homeland for Jews, a separate country where Jews could live and escape the centuries of persecution they faced almost everywhere they went.

After much consultation with the World Zionist Congress, some key locations across the globe were selected, including Kenya, Uganda and Argentina. It was finally decided that the Jewish homeland should be built according to the biblical borders of the Old Testament, which pointed to Palestine. Herzl died decades before his dream could be realized.

It is very important to note that when Herzl wrote his vision for the creation of Israel, he came with good intentions and never planned to disrupt the Palestinians. In fact, he never even took the reaction of locals and natives into consideration. He assumed that the presence of a large Jewish community would benefit the entire region by creating wealth, economic opportunity and intellectual achievements that Jews were famous for.

The year was 1948

The movement continued and rapidly escalated after World War 2, when Jews were increasingly persecuted by Nazi Germany and generally across Europe. At the end of the Second World War, the British Empire was getting ready to withdraw from all her colonies in the East; Palestine happened to be one of those occupied colonies.

Britain approved a request by the World Zionist Congress for obtaining the land of Palestine and before pulling out, Britain passed a bill that partitioned Palestine into two countries, with Israel being the second, newly formed nation. It was decided that Palestine and the newly formed country of Israel would share Jerusalem as their capital. The year was 1948.

Instantly, riots broke out in Palestine and Arabs objected to the idea of their country being partitioned into two. Masses of Jewish immigrants from Europe began arriving by boat to settle in the Holy Land.

There is another important observation to make here. All of these events occurred at a time when the world was accustomed to the idea of the Great Game, when invading and conquering other countries was simply the norm (little has changed in the mental outlook of that region, which remains stuck in its own time-capsule).

As Jews landed by the shipload on the shores of Palestinian villages and cities, the first order of the day was to evict Arabs from those cities and villages that fell under the newly partitioned half of Palestine, now called Israel.

What Does Israel Want?

Everything that has occurred since 1948 until today has largely been a continuation of the same policies of 1948, where Israel continues to expand and squeeze the Palestinians into what little remains of their original country.

Since 1948 and the continued expansion of Israel’s borders, Palestinians have been squeezed into the last remaining portions of their homeland called the West Bank and Gaza.

Israel continues to build settlements in the West bank and Gaza. Settlements are small, heavily fortified compounds that house Israeli families. The circular settlements are considered Israel and they are gradually expanded, with the intent being that Palestinians will be forced to leave when there is no more land left!

What do the Palestinians want?

Israel has offered to repatriate Palestinians to different countries, as well as offered to build them an artificial island mass, similar to the developments off the coast of Dubai.

Palestinians refuse to leave their country and want their confiscated land back. While many realize that turning the clock back to 1948 is likely not possible, they want at the very least, for Israel to stop all further expansion and leave all remaining Palestinian territories since the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

Does the article sound biased? After reading the history of this conflict in the most impartial manner possible, I did not have to arrive to any conclusive evidence, since the facts spoke for themselves.

Palestine was invaded in 1948 by Europeans from the World Zionist Congress looking to establish a Jewish homeland. Palestinians were forcefully evicted from their towns and cities in a series of consequent wars and bombardments.

Food for Thought

Now, the facts mentioned (if true) would convince anyone not familiar with the conflict, that Palestinians have been seriously wronged. Israel could have been a Muslim or Christian country, and I would still have been critical of how they went about establishing themselves.

The Israeli position is that Arabs sold them the land. This is in fact, quite true. Theodore Herzl and the World Zionist Congress bought 125,000 acres of land for eventual development of Jewish communities.

This is the same as foreigners buying property in the United States, which is perfectly legal. But foreign owners are NOT, among so many things, allowed to declare their own independent state on that land and then start expanding that state in all directions. That is just not part of the deal.

Can you imagine what the public reaction would be if Muslims bought several acres of land in the United States and declared it an independent country that is ruled by Shariah? And imagine if that little state expands in all different directions, razing American neighborhoods and homes that come in the way, declaring war on anyone who objects.

That is the closest and most accurate parable I can present to explain what is happening in Israel and Palestine.

It is easy to agitate but hard to provide a solution.

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