Nakba Day: let us not forget

Palestinians around the world observed Nakba (catastrophe) Day on May 15 to commemorate the displacement of the Palestinian people following the formation of Israel in 1948. In their usual display of unwarranted aggression, the Israeli forces opened fire on hundreds of Palestinians who had gathered along its frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza to peacefully demonstrate on Nakba Day. At least 13 people were killed. “We encourage maximum restraint on all sides,” was the mealy-mouthed response from the world’s sole superpower, the US. When Israel came into being in 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcefully expelled from their homes and land onto the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and surrounding countries. In their ‘holy escapade’, the Zionists acted through terrorist gangs and the Israeli armed forces. The western world, particularly the British who held the Palestinian territory as a mandate, looked the other way while this was going on. This was the beginning of the Israeli-Arab conflict and most importantly the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The expansion of Israel took place much beyond the UN-mandated partition plan, followed by decades of exile and refugee existence of the Palestinians. The reliance of the Palestinians on their Arab neighbouring countries faced a serious setback after the huge losses suffered by Egypt, Jordan and Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. Since then, successive Zionist regimes in Israel have become more arrogant and refuse to settle for the two-state solution that has been proposed by the Palestinians and the international community. One of the foremost reasons for this arrogance comes from the fact that no matter the scale of human rights violations, the US and the west keep on supporting the Israelis.

The new phase of resistance in Palestine has come about due to the recent Arab uprisings and the reconciliation between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) will further help the resistance movement. This has not gone down well with Israel and the US but it is time that the Palestinians themselves be allowed to decide their own future. The world cannot determine which leaders the Palestinians must choose. Where there are many injustices being rolled back in the world, this imperialist dagger in the heart of the Middle East called Israel cannot be allowed to continue with its highhandedness. It is time to give the Palestinians their due rights and end this decades-long conflict.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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