Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque. Palestinian families evicted from their homes. Rockets fired by Hamas. Gaza bombed. Hundreds of casualties and thousands displaced. An international appeal for peace.
How did we get here?
Well, to comprehend the current escalation that has the world on its edge, you need to understand the creation of Israel. At the time of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire was 617 years old and on the brink of collapse. Still, they ruled large swathes of geostrategically important territory including controlling access to the crucial Mediterranean and the Black Sea. When the First World War erupted, Ottomans were desperately looking for foreign allies to hold onto their survival. They chose to ally with Germany. And as they say, the rest is history.
The European powers offered Arabs complete sovereignty of the Arabian Peninsula if they helped them defeat the Ottoman Empire. However, the Arabs were in for a surprise. The British and French held a top-secret meeting during the War in which they planned to divide the captured Ottoman territory into areas of British and French control. This was called the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Under this agreement, Britain received Palestine, Jordan, and Southern Iraq while France was awarded South-Eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The Arabs had been tricked into ending the rule of non-Arab Muslims only to find themselves ruled by European colonialists instead.
Right, back to Palestine and Israel. As the British controlled Palestine, something known as the Zionist Movement gained momentum in Europe and lobbied hard to support the mass migration of Jews to Palestinian lands for the creation of a Jewish state a.k.a Israel. In 1917, the British publicly declared its intentions of establishing a national home for Jews in Palestine. In reality, they just gifted a land made up of 90% Palestinian Muslims to Jews who constituted less than 10% of the total population. Mandated by the British, the Jewish immigration to Palestine rose exponentially and the Jews composed a whopping 27% of the total population just 18 years later (1935). Palestinian land was seized and the native Palestinian population grew increasingly stressed. They conveyed their concerns to the British who resolved the issue in an amicable manner.
They offered to split Palestine while also endorsing the forceful removal of Arabs from their homes. Naturally, the Palestinians rose against this tyranny but this revolt was crushed by the superior power of the British military might and thousands of Palestinians were killed. Fed up with the unwavering resistance from the Palestinians, the British handed over Palestine to the United Nations in 1947.
The UN drafted a Partition Plan whereby 55% of the land was allocated to Jews (even though they composed one-third of the population and most of the Jews were immigrants who had arrived from Europe just a few years ago). As any native population would, Palestinians rejected the proposal. However, the Zionists (Jews) accepted the deal but they didn’t agree to the proposed borders and even campaigned for more land.
The Zionist militia then resorted to a campaign of ‘cleansing’ Palestinian land before the British forces officially left. They stormed Palestinian villages and cities, driving thousands of people out of their homes, rendering thousands homeless. On the same day as the last British troops left, the Jews declared the creation of the State of Israel. Overnight, the two superpowers at the time, the United States and Russia recognized the sovereignty of Israel.
Complete anarchy broke out as the Palestinians revolted against this fatal blow. The 1947-1949 Palestine war ended with Palestine divided among Israel, Jordan, (which annexed territory on the West Bank), and Egypt, which established a sanctuary for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Nearly 15,000 Palestinians had been killed and some 1.9 million had been driven out of their land. But this only the start. Even after a staggering number of 131 Security Council resolutions safeguarding Palestinian rights, Israel has continued to abuse its power and influence with the West to massacre and trample upon human rights and crush Palestinians.
So the next time you hear about live ammunition being used to disperse Palestinian protesters, heavy-duty missiles being used to bomb residential and media buildings, targeted killing of innocent civilians by the occupier Israel, violent eviction of families by Jewish mobs, or the complete blockade around the Gaza Strip, remember that the very State of Israel was founded upon ideals of oppression and your voice against this brutality of support with the Palestinians will be heard across the world if you simply choose to speak.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. He does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Rizq or its members. The publication does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of Rizq.