May 15th, is the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe). And counting. I say ‘and counting’ because the theft of our land, the occupation, the siege on Gaza, the disposition of our people, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and replacement of the Palestinian nation, with Jews, often of dual nationality, from around the world, continues more aggressively than ever. So does the building of illegal settlements to house those interlopers. They too are still going on apace with no end in sight.
Add to that toxic mix, the total indifference of western leaders and the conniving and betrayal of some Arab leaders, not to mention the shameful capitulation and collaboration of the Palestinian Authority and the picture is complete.
Try as I may to look for the infamous light at the end of the long, dark tunnel, I can’t find even the tiniest glimmer.
And I haven’t even got around to mentioning the Israeli prisons which are full of Palestinian men, women and children, tortured and held in disgusting conditions without charge or legal recourse. As if all of this was not enough to emphasise the cruelty and inhumanity of the occupation of our land, the longest in history, the Israeli Occupation Forces continue to raid, unhindered, cities, towns and villages all over Palestine. And what does the ‘free, democratic world’ do about it? This is but a small example of what they do.
The President of the European Commission, Madame Ursula Von der Leyen lauded Israel’s democracy and its ties to Europe.
“Today, we celebrate 75 years of vibrant democracy in the heart of the Middle East,” the German politician said. “We also celebrate 75 years of friendship between Israel and Europe,” pointing out that; “We have more in common than geography would suggest: our shared culture, our values and hundreds of thousands of dual European-Israeli citizens have created a deep connection between us.”
Really, Mme Von der Leyen? Shared values? Is the European Union proud to share with the Israeli Government the concentration camps and the ghettos Israel created for us Palestinians, in our own land? Is Israel’s ‘Administrative Detention policy’ which allows the imprisonment of Palestinians, men, women and children, indefinitely, without charge or legal representation, or even family visits, one that Europe might embrace? Is this what you might call a shared value?
Mme Von der Leyen continued to regurgitate Israeli propaganda by claiming that “you truly made the desert bloom”. I wonder if she is aware of the geography of Palestine and where the ‘land of milk and honey’, mentioned in the bible actually is? I venture to say it was not Berlin.
In the last 75 years there were many attempts to settle the so-called Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Yet, to put it in those terms is misleading. A conflict is between two opposing powers and their armies. Israel has the power, has the army, has the airforce, has the navy. Not to mention three hundred nuclear warheads and the total and complete support of the United States of America. The Palestinians have none of these. So how can we call it a conflict?
It is genocide. It was designed to ethnically cleanse all of Palestine and turn it into a state for Jews only, rubber-stamped by the Nation State Bill that was passed in 2018, which emphatically states that the right of self-determination in Israel is exclusively a Jewish prerogative.
Yet all of this has been just a starter for a much more ambitious, well-planned and financed settler-colonial project, which was started back in 1882, under the Ottoman Empire.
First: Facilitate the immigration of Jews from around the world into Palestine. Get rid of the Palestinians, or corral them in bins, euphemistically referred to as ‘cantons,’ and keep them on a strictly limited diet and under tight military rule.
Second: Present to the world that Jews are the only victims and Israelis are the biggest victims of all.
Third: Blackmail friends and allies to support Israeli ambitions, come what may. Steal their technology. Kill their sailors. Blame it on others. Those who do not submit, smear them as ‘anti-semitic’.
This is how Mr Benjamin Netanyahu has kept his grip on power since the 1990s. He has lied, he has waged wars, he has inflicted more death and suffering on the Palestinians and he has pretended to make peace. What he was actually trying to do, and is still trying to do is establish a legacy as the man who put the Greater Israel project on a higher level than any other leader before him. This is why Israel, until now, does not have a declared constitution or a declared, definitive border.
The opposition to these expansionist, racial plans in Israel is minimal, as was clearly illustrated recently by the Israeli electorate choosing to vote in the most fascist, far-right government ever in the State of Israel.
So, dear reader, as the thundering juggernaut of power and destruction by Israel rolls on, waved through by international indifference, what do you think? Can this inhumanity and murder in Palestine really continue unabated for anniversary after anniversary? Hope is still there, fluttering bravely. But it is all we have.
Jafar M Ramini is a Palestinian writer and political analyst. He was born in Jenin in 1943 and was five years old when he and his family had to flee the terror of the Urgun and Stern gangs. Justice for the people of Palestine is a life-long commitment.