By Ismail Obansa Nimah
Theodor Herzl must be restless in his tomb for what is happening in Palestine. He must have forgotten to remember that even though he succeeded in creating Zionism to champion his vision for a Jewish state in the heart of Palestine, the territory he uprooted people from and where he currently rests was never really his. In it were millions of good-hearted people, living a beautiful life in their homes, farms, families, freedom, peace and prosperity. Until all they had was brutally taken away by the entity Herzl created, the state of Israel.
The Jewish homeland chanted by Herzl since the first worldwide Jewish conference in 1897 and seen by thousands of Jews as their God-given right and as “a land with no people for a people without land”, is for the first time since its creation up in an unprecedented amount of flames.
The West championed the Balfour Declaration after the First World War. It gave the territory of Palestine to a foreign occupation to establish the apartheid state of Israel in total injustice and disregard for the basic human rights of the indigenous people of Palestine.
After the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist movement gained momentum and confidence. Jews worldwide, particularly in Europe, began to migrate and seek refuge in Palestine. The Palestinians welcomed and gave refuge to the Jews escaping persecution, particularly during the second world war and the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. But to the Palestinian’s dismay, their kind gestures were met with a very painful backstabbing.
Following the Second World War, the Israeli Declaration of Independence, formally the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, was proclaimed on 14 May 1948. That declaration triggered resistance from the Palestinian and neighbouring Arab states. It questioned how people’s lands and homes could be stolen from them that easily.
The resistance led to the first armed confrontation between Palestinians and the newly founded state of Israel, together with their allies, resulting in the 1948 Nakbah, which not only saw 78% of Mandatory Palestine become illegally occupied by Israel but also saw the expulsion and flight of 700,000 Palestinians, the subsequent depopulation and destruction of over 500 Palestinian village and geographic erasure, the denial of the Palestinian right of return, the creation of permanent Palestinian refugees in their lands, and the “tyrannical destruction of the Palestinian society, all of which has continued till date.
The events of 1948 uncovered fierce resistance across occupied Palestinian territories and other Muslim nations—one that gave birth to the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian resistance fighters.
Since 1948, Israel has continued expanding its occupation and settlements in the Palestinian Territories. It thrashed the two-state solution and violated almost every international law in its systemic oppression, tyranny and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It has carried out numerous indiscriminate attacks and killings of innocent Palestinians. The apartheid regime in Israel has illegally demolished thousands of Palestinian homes, destroyed heritages, desecrated religious sanctuaries, particularly Al-Aqsa Mosque, murdered countless unarmed civilians, including numerous children, women and the elderly and denied Palestinians basic human rights, including their freedom.
At the heart of the Palestinian resistance is the Gaza Strip (the headquarters of Hamas), which has endured decades of Israeli terror, bombardments and siege. The Gaza Strip is a densely populated area with a land, sea and air blockade by Israel since 2007. It is basically a prison. Israel has carried out countless inhumane, unprovoked attacks across the strip, with the most deadly being in 2014 and the most recent occurring just five months ago. On average this year, 2 Palestinians have been killed daily by Israel across its occupied territories.
The hypocrisy of the Western powers fuelling the Israeli regime for decades has allowed successive generations of Palestinians to take bold and brave initiatives, like what is currently unfolding, to defend and resist the Israeli apartheid occupation. And it appears that the more fight they put to resist, the better they get at it. One may ask, what makes the Palestinians so different from the Ukrainians?
With the seeming cowardice stance of the Arab Nations in their pursuit of a normalisation agenda at the expense of the Palestinians, it became increasingly clear that if the Palestinians would achieve anything at all, then they would either have to fight bravely and indeed as they currently are or die trying but retaining their honour and dignity with them.
This recent attack has sent a clear message to the world that if peace and stability must be achieved, then attention must be paid to the oppressed and not the oppressor. A man who has already lost so much would not mind throwing all that is left to defend his honour and dignity. The Palestinians have been stretched too thin, and they, more than anyone, have all the right to defend themselves in this war that the creation of Israel started.
Ismail Obansa Nimah wrote via email@example.com.