Ethnic cleansing in a once peaceful place
The 15th of May is Nakba Day, a day to commemorate the literal catastrophe when over 700,000 Palestinians were either killed or violently displaced by armed European colonists intent on creating a new political entity on top of ancient Palestine. What began as an attempt to drive Palestinians from their land in 1947 and 1948 continues to this day, with the Palestinians still remembering the initial catastrophe.
Today, that colonial entity which first waged war on Palestine is known as “Israel” – an illegal nuclear armed military-police state, one which can only survive by forcing its own youth to take up arms from a young age and never let go of the ‘shoot to kill’ mentality.
From land theft to total occupation
For Palestine, the last 70 years have been a series of progressive internal and external abandonments. After 1967 Jordan and Egypt, two Arab states which unlike now, were at the time sympathetic to the plight of fellow Arabs, were driven from Palestine by an expansionist “Israel” which during the course of the Third Arab-“Israeli” war also demonstrated its ability to manipulate American leaders. When “Israel” attacked the American ship USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans and wounding 171 others during the course of the third Arab-“Israeli” War, the US government covered-up the entire incident and to this day, the US has refused to comment on this atrocity against American sailors.
For the Palestinians, the lands which between 1948 and 1967 were administered by fellow Arab states were now an occupied no man’s land. 1967 also marked the beginning of “Israel’s” occupation of lands outside of Palestine as the regime seized Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
It was only after 1967 that the fully homeless Palestinians formed new, dynamic political parties to help create an organised resistance to their occupation and the theft of both their state and private property. It was in 1967 that the Orthodox Palestinian George Habash founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a party which called for the restoration of a single Palestinian state where equal rights and full citizenship would be implicit for all its inhabitants. The PFLP along with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah party formed the core of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation which itself was founded in 1964 as a collective organisations to represent Palestine on the world’s stage.
From 1967-1970, Egypt, Syria,Jordan and Palestine fought “Israel” in what came to be known as the War of Attrition. The only major development from the war was Jordan’s first of many betrayals of Palestine when Amman decided to expel thousands of Palestinian refugees along with the PLO’s leadership who ended up fleeing to Lebanon in 1970. This incident has come to be known as Black September.
In 1973, in an attempt to regain their own occupied territories in the Golan Heights and Sinai, Syria and Egypt declared war on “Israel” although the occupied territories remained in Tel Aviv’s possession after the war. While this development led oil producing nations of the Arab world to begin a major oil embargo which caused a seismic increases in world oil prices while causing shortages in the US and other “Israeli” allies, this too failed to shine any further light on the plight of Palestine except for gaining the Palestinian cause some minor recognition at the United Nations.
In 1974, the PLO was admitted to the United Nations as an official observer. PLO leader Yasser Arafat addressed the UN General Assembly saying that he is ready for peace but prepared for war and proceeded to utter the phrase,
“I come to you bearing an olive branch in one hand and a freedom fighter’s gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand”.
Sadly for Palestine, by the late 1970s, one-by-one fellow Arab nations began their gradual betrayal of Palestine which today is complete with the lone exception of a war-torn Syrian Arab Republic.
Betrayal From Without
In 1975, Lebanon’s long civil war began and within the framework of the multi-party war, Palestinians who in the past were slaughtered and displaced by “Israel” in Palestine were now slaughtered and displaced by “Israel” within Lebanon. In 1978 “Israel” invaded Lebanon and devastated PLO camps in the south of the country.
Then in 1979, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat took the fateful decision to become the first Arab leader to recognise “Israel”. As a result, the Tel Aviv regime eventually withdrew from occupied Egyptian land, but before that Sadat was assassinated by former Egyptian army officer Khalid Islambouli. The days of Nasser defending Palestine were over and the largest Arab nation consigned Palestine’s fate to her occupier.
In 1982, after a much larger “Israeli” invasion of Lebanon than the one from 1978, Tel Aviv invaded and occupied southern Lebanon where its aggressive forces would remain until 2006. In 1982 “Israel” teamed up with the fascist Lebanese party Kataeb to slaughter 3,500 Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila massacre one of the darkest days of a bleak Lebanese Civil War where Palestinians were frequent targets from multiple sides.
Betrayal from within
In 1993, after the fall of the USSR left the Arab Nationalist world without a strong geopolitical ally, the PLO began direct talks with the regime in which the PLO recognised “Israel” and paved the way for the ultimate partition of Palestine, a plan never agreed to (it was only proposed by the UN not formally agreed upon). In one move, Palestine’s leader decided to legitimise occupation in the hope that someday a divided Palestine might at least receive statehood. Then, in 1994, Jordan followed Egypt in becoming the second Arab state to recognise “Israel”.
All of this occurred as the fifth column terror organisation Hamas began gaining popularity among a desperate population. Hamas was originally formed in 1987 with the help of the United States and the “Israeli” Secret Intelligence Service Mossad in order to divide a broadly secular Palestinian movement with regressive religious extremism. The group which had (many say still has) ties to the Muslim brotherhood (outlawed in Egypt, Syria and Russia), began to successfully co-opt Palestinian politics in the early 2000s based on a unique brand of false promises, religious extremism and an abandonment of the secular progressive Arab Nationalism that has traditionally defined Palestinian liberation politics.
Throughout this period, the remaining friends of Palestine in the Arab world were killed off by the United States beginning with Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein in 2006 and Libya’s revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It was also in 2011 that the US and its Gulfi allies began a hybrid war designed to remove Syria’s Arab Nationalist President Bashar Al-Assad from power. To add insult to injury, many members of Hamas joined with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in a fight against President Al-Assad’s government in spite of the fact that Syria is the only Arab state left with a constitutional commitment to anti-Zionism and Palestinian liberation.
Palestinians are now confined to disjointed areas of their once free and united territory. Palestinians are relegated to non-contiguous areas in the occupied West Bank and the narrow Gaza strip, the world’s most densely populated area that is cut off from the outside world on all four sides, leaving many to call it an “open air prison”.
Saudi Arabia which always opposed Arab Nationalist movements is now a de-facto “Israeli” ally while the rest of the Arab world has either capitulated to US pressure and abandoned Palestine or like Syria, now has its own war to fight against foreign aggression.
Iran is now the only state other than Syria to officially maintain a policy of an inclusive ‘one state solution’ while most other countries have come to advocate a bifurcated Palestine living next to a nuclear armed “Israel”. However, since the rise of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has become a vocal champion for Palestine at a time when Palestine’s old Arab friends have collectively decided to betray the last part of the Arab world formally occupied by a European colonial entity.
For Palestinians, the Nakba – the catastrophe continues as it never went away. On the eve of Nakba Day on the 14th of May, the regime massacred over 58 mostly young Palestinian demonstrators as the US was celebrating the move of its “Israeli” Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem/Al-Quds.
With the Arab world abandoning Palestine with the exceptions of Syria, some parties in Algeria and some parties in Lebanon, it now largely falls on Iran and Turkey to devise a plan to bring justice to Palestine at a time when Palestinians have at long last realised that the US can never be a neutral mediator but is merely serving the mutual interests of colonialism in a shattered Arab world.