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The 70-year Israeli destruction of Palestine

This year marks 70 years since the violent displacement of the Palestinian people – known as the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”). Laurie Holden of the Hastings Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) reports on the ongoing Nakba and local events to commemorate this.

Around 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel. Five hundred villages were destroyed and their inhabitants never allowed to return. Militias, which later became the Israeli Defence Force, committed massacres. Israel wouldn’t allow Palestinians to return, branding those who tried as ‘infiltrators’. Israeli security officials were entitled to shoot them on sight.

Nothing has changed. Under international law, refugees have a right to return. Israel is in perpetual breach of this and numerous other international laws.

Today, Palestinians are either forced to live under military siege in Gaza, under direct military occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, or as second class citizens within the State of Israel with more than 50 laws which discriminate against them. Approximately three million Palestinians remain stateless, languishing in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Seventy years of ethnic cleansing has led to the apartheid reality of today. None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the support from countries of the west, particularly the US and the UK. US aid to Israel since the Nakba has been estimated at more than $130 billion. US military aid to Israel works out at $10 million a day. UK military aid is small by comparison, but is growing at a fast pace: £20m in 2015 to £216m in 2017. This includes components in sniper rifles. Sniper rifles of course have been used to kill more than 100 protesters in Gaza over the last few weeks.

From expulsion to demolition

As the first of a series of events to commemorate 70 years since the Nakba, Hastings Palestine Solidarity Campaign is holding a meeting with Dr Jeff Halper, co-founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes has become one of the major obscenities of the occupation. Since 1948, Israel has demolished more than 120,000 Palestinian homes. ICAHD has played an important role in opposing this policy. Its work ranges from meeting with politicians, diplomats and journalists to physically blocking bulldozers.

The title of Jeff’s presentation is: Towards Justice In Israel/Palestine: One Democratic State. This will include the background to the present situation, followed by the premise that Israel has effectively eliminated the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian ‘conflict’ and has produced instead a regime of apartheid.

He will outline the only just solution that Israel has left: a single constitutional democracy: one country, one citizenship, one parliament and one shared civil society in which its people’s collective rights are also protected. He will explore in depth how such a solution would work and what we need to do to reach it.

Jeff Halper’s presentation will be at the White Rock Hotel, (opposite the pier), Hastings TN34 1JU on Saturday 26 May, 3-5pm. Free refreshments. No entry fee, but a collection for ICAHD will be made.

Hastings PSC website; the group’s Facebook page.

Posted 11:35 Saturday, May 19, 2018 In: Campaigns

1 Comment

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  1. Keith Piggott (Icarus)

    On Saturday 26 May 2018, Dr Helper will address a Hastings audience to one of the most tortuous problems of historic time. There is no Alexander the Great to cut the Gordian knot.

    One cannot remain ambivalent to the too many to enumerate awful HR abuses and violations of UN/UNHCR Resolutions; and I do not excuse Hamas, nor precursors like the PLO, responding to Israel, with its well trained and superbly equipped armed forces in possession of covert nuclear weaponry – under permanent US security shield and new blanket assurances by one President Donald J. Trump.

    As a WASP child in the 1940s, images of Belsen tormented me. I resolved to fly so it might never happen again. In the 1950s I learned of Colonel Lawrence, his opposition to post-WW1 UK-Franco culturally meaningless arbitrary divisions of the Middle East; of Glubb Pasha’s post-WW2 paternal control of Palestine Protectorate; of Jewish Irgun terrorism, then UN Resolution to (re)form a State of Israel in recognition of the Holocaust’s victims, thereby ending the Jewish Diaspora enforced by Rome after Massada. [OK, so it was a scrappy eduction].

    Then in 1966, as a fully trained operational RAF fighter pilot, I discretely volunteered to fly for Israel in what looked to be a mounting Arab military offensive. I had no Jewish connection nor language, but I believed the State of Israel had a right to exist. But surgery intervened, from an RAF hospital bed, I watched TV coverage of the 6-Day War, won by the outstanding General Moshe Dayan, with air-superiority, backed by Israel’s indomitable PM Golda Meijer. Egypt’s President Sadat eventually made peace with Israel. All seemed well, on the surface.

    Subsequently I have discussed ME politics amicably with our Egyptian, Jordanian, also Saudi, friends also Jewish friends, who all dispassionately condemn western divisions of the ME map; also Israel’s intransigence in denial of UK resolutions. Israel’s Sharon played hard-ball, hopes were raised by peace-mediator Rabin but dashed by his assassination. Successive Israeli governments failed to pick up the olive branch; walls and settlements appeared on displaced peoples’ lands. Without olive branch or ballot box, the bomb and bullet box methods of Irgun became the tools first of the PLO then of Hamas.

    The return of historic anti-Semitism in Europe also Britain, not only is awful, inappropriate, unlawful, misplaced, but also misconceived. It conflates religion (Judaism), politics (Israel), and single state aspirations (Zionism). Further, it ignores the divisions within Semitism; both Jews and Arabs are Semitic peoples formerly united in faith and tolerance – hard to believe

    Personally I do not believe any peaceful solution ever is likely between irreconcilable dogmas; I fear the next war will not last six-days, perhaps not even six-minutes. The world would do well to remember Albert Einstein’s prediction; “The next world war shall be nuclear, but I predict the world war after that shall be with sticks and stones”.

    I do wish Dr Helper well, and a fruitful time in Hastings.

    Comment by Keith Piggott (Icarus) — Monday, May 21, 2018 @ 14:26

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