May 14,2016 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
Today marks the 68th year of Nakbeh, or Palestinian catastrophe.
In 1948, Israel was created on Palestinian land, starting decades of Palestinian suffering, sacrifice, dispossession and displacement.
Palestinians, both Muslim and Christian, who were a majority in their homeland before the start of the waves of Jewish immigration from Europe in the wake of the holocaust, were surprised to see another state declared on their ancestral land.
By that act, Jewish survivors of the holocaust, aided by Western powers triumphant against Nazi Germany in World War II, started another racist war against the non-Jewish population of Palestine, forcing 700,000 indigenous people out of their homeland, taking their homes, lands and other property, depopulating and destroying many villages, massacring many people in the process.
Through this ethnic cleansing, they simply turned from victims into victimisers, in the process dehumanising their unwitting victims, the Palestinian people.
The 1948 war was one of the biggest injustices of modern age, whose consequences persist up until now. There was little efforts on the part of the international community to end the conflict, simply because of the power of lobby groups working in favour of Israel in a hypocritical Western political system that continues to dominate world affairs.
That war, which uprooted much of a people, replacing it with another, was the victory of a superior, well-equipped, well-trained Western army against an indigenous mostly rural population aided by poorly equipped, inferior and scattered Arab forces that had few means to fight.
The Palestinian people, who lost the remainder of their land in the 1967 war, today number around 12 million people; around 5 million of them live under Israeli military occupation, or siege, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were occupied in the 1967 war.
More than 1 million of them hold Israeli passports, but are still heavily discriminated against in their own land. The rest live in various countries around the world.
Many of the diaspora Palestinians are still living in refugee camps, deprived of many rights, mainly of the right to return to their homeland, while individuals anywhere in the world, just by being born Jewish, automatically get the right to live in Palestine, most often on stolen land.
Palestinians did not choose Israel or Jews as their enemy, nor did they choose the type of life and struggle that they are having nowadays.
That was a destiny imposed on them by a colonial power, Great Britain, which occupied their land one century ago and promised to create a home for Jews in Palestine under the Balfour Declaration, issued in 1917 by Britain’s foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour.
Britain carried out its promise in 1948, the year of the Nakbeh, handing over most of Palestine to the Jewish population which it helped settle over during the previous decades.
It was the typical colonial arrogance that gives a people’s land to another people, without remorse and with no serious effort later to reverse the situation.
Palestinians, who never accepted the consequences of this process, will continue their effort to regain their land through whatever means available.
No matter how much time passes, no matter how many foreigners come and go, how much political hypocrisy is shown by world capitals, Palestinians know that what is theirs will be returned to them and that justice will eventually prevail.
They know that around the world, even among the Jewish people, there are those working to rectify a wrong.
Palestine will remain Palestine, despite all semantic and political games, and its people, of all faiths, will one day be living side by side free, equal, in peace and prosperity on their national soil.