It is very difficult not to become repetitive when you are writing on the situation in Palestine; when you are writing about each new farce, each new tragedy, each new piece of “chutzpah”, each new crime; the reader is bound to experience a sort of “deja vu”, a “tell me something new” and it is difficult because all of it, the illegal occupation, Saba and Shatila, Jenin, Gaza, etc.etc. remain a variation of the one theme and incidental to the real crime that began before Gaza, before Qana, before Jenin, before Saba and Shatila, before etc. etc. That is because, in the meantime the origins of the crime are forgotten and those origins do not lie in the Nazi Holocaust, and while everything that has happened and is happening does to some extent have a link to the ethnic cleansing of 1948, the root of the problem precedes both 1948 and the death camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Maidenek and Sachsenhausen. It goes back to the Arab uprising of 1936, it goes back further, it goes back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and even further still, and it goes back to the first Zionist Congress, which was held at Basle from the 29th of August until the 31st of August 1897. Of course, the Zionists will argue that it goes back even further and that it goes back thousands of years, back to the biblical lands of Israel. Now considering that our “other” zany Zionists, those of the Christian ilk, think that the planet is only some 6,000 years old, that biblical claim on “Israel” is a pretty tall order and one which is quite difficult for a logically thinking person, like me, to swallow. Furthermore, while it might appear that there is at least an argument for a homeland for the “Jewish people” because of the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, because of the progroms in Tsarist Russia and persecution elsewhere, persecution which culminated in the Holocaust, then might not the Muslims whose forfathers were expelled from the Iberian peninsula claim a right of return to sunny Spain and might not the Gypsies who died in the gas chambers also claim a homeland. No, they might not but they should, at least, expect to be Muslims or Gypsies in whichever country they find themselves, without fear of persecution. Moreover, it cannot be said often enough but those who committed crimes against Jews were not Palestinians and no people can simply decide to build their homeland on someone else’s land. Yes, that was the decision made in 1897 and that is the original crime and the crimes which followed are a consequence of that decision.
In the meantime, of course, each incident might be a variation of the theme, however, each incident has also created a new “reality” and the Zionists have, indeed, moved the goal posts. Nevertheless, while it is very difficult to ask the Palestinians to be generous, my suggestion is that they might be. 1948 was a crime and it should be recognised as such. Furthermore, this is not only a moral issue, it is a legal one; the Palestinians have, according to international law, a right to return. However, an apology, compensation, a right to visit, these things could all be part of a package that might see the Palestinians waive this right and thereby ensure that there is not another ethnic cleansing and, while this alone might suggest that crime does, indeed, pay, it would be a pragmatic step and one that would ensure that there would be neither another “shoah” for the Jewish people nor another “Nakba” for the Palestinians. That, however, is where the line has to be drawn and, remember, in drawing it here, the Palestinians are compromising on their legal right.
Unfortunately, the goal posts have not only been moved to a point where I find myself asking the Palestinians to, at least to some extent, accept the catastrophe of 1948, they have been moved to the point where the majority of the population in Zionistan have a view of reality that, at best, would be in sync with those “ewige Gestrige” who would love to see Germany back in the borders of 1941. The news is that Obama wants to halt the building of settlements on the territory occupied by Israel after the 1967 war and how does the Israeli public respond? Well, look at the readers letters in the ‘Jerusalem Post’ and ‘Haaretz’ today, the views expressed range from a, “well, just don’t do it” to an “Obama will exchange the West Bank for peace with the Arabs”.(1) Now, the “…., just don’t do it” I can understand, because that is what the government in Israel will do, they just won’t do it! However, the second letter I quoted there is more interesting and more interesting because, this particular Israeli, like the majority of Israelis, appears to believe that the West Bank is Israel’s to exchange and it is believed despite an array of UN resolutions to the contrary. Of course, this too is a result of that decision made back in 1897, a decision for “Eratz Israel”. Therfore, can an apology for 1948, compensation, Palestinians being allowed to visit their grandparents homes, a two-state solution that will generally work, be expected? No, because for that to happen Zionism and the Zionists would have to disappear and that won’t just happen; the ethnic cleansing of Palestine will continue and the chance for real peace in the Middle East becomes increasingly unlikely. History does not stand still but as Marx said it repeats itself and with every day that goes by the chances of a new “Shoah”, a new “Nakba”, increases too. A new “reality” has to be established, the goal posts have to be moved in the Palestinians favour and it has to happen quickly.
The picture above shows the medal issued after the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897
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