Monday, July 28, 2014

High Time for Palestinians to be Free

An excellent post by Irish Moses outlines the history of the creation of Israel and the oppression of the original Palestinian majority.  At the end of World War I, Palestine, which had been a colony of the Ottoman Empire, was occupied by the British army and became the Palestinian Mandate with the intention of becoming an independent state.  Palestine's population was then 93 percent indigenous Palestinians and 7 percent zionist Jews.  The British never converted their Palestinian Mandate into an independent state, as was done for other Mandates in the Middle East.  In 1947 the UN drew up a plan to grant 56 percent of the land for a Jewish state and 43 percent for a Palestinian state even though the Palestinians still represented 2/3 of the population and owned over 90% of the land.  The plan gave most of the coastline and prime agricultural areas to the Jewish state.  The Zionists accepted the plan but the Palestinians (as well as the neighboring Arab states) rejected it.  Still it passed the UN General Assembly which was then dominated by American, European, and Russian influence.

Fighting between Jews and Palestinians broke out, and the US and the UN started exploring binational solutions, but by 1948 Zionists had conquered 78 percent of Palestine and had ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, giving that 78 percent of the land a Jewish majority.  Zionists declared their independence under the UN plan and their new state was first recognized by the USA, making it a fait accompli.

Palestinian refugees were forced into camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.  The West Bank was then a colony of Jordan.

In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel conquered the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.  Legally it had a duty to give up those territories gained through war.  But instead it began treating the Occupied Territories as colonies, transferring Jewish citizens into new settlements while evicting more and more Palestinians from their homes, confiscating their lands, and subjecting them to harsh military rule.

During the past 47 years, the Palestinians have tried both violent and non-violent resistance with little success and much failure.  Now there are 750,000 Israeli Jews living on settlements on Palestinian land and that number is expected to grow by 50% by 2019.  Leaders of major political parties say that Israel has no intention of withdrawing from Palestinian territories which it considers to be part of a Greater Israel it inherited from Biblical times.

It's time we started looking at Palestinian terrorists as freedom fighters, struggling for their independence.

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