In 1882 (Gilbert:6) only around 20,000 Jews inhabited Palestine. These Jews conducted their daily affairs with the majority Arabs around them in a harmonious manner and peace prevailed in the region.
Unfortunately, the influx of Jews from outside began soon after following the Zionist declaration of Basle by Zionist leader, Theodor Hertzl. He had estimated that the Arab population of Palestine at that time to be about 650,000 people. Yet the Zionist strategy was to program an intensive Jewish immigration into
Palestine and in this they had the full support and material assistance from European countries. The British mandate further facilitated the immigration of Jews into Palestine with even more momentum.
The Arab countries around Palestine were helpless – they were mainly under colonial rule or were under Western influence. This further helped the Zionist plan of large scale immigration of Jews into Palestine. Hordes of Jews came into Palestine particularly after World War 1. The Uthmaniyyah Caliphate in Turkey which was already weakened by the War as well as internal stress was forced to leave Palestine in 1917 leaving the territory at the mercy of the British who immediately occupied it.
This development caused much anguish amongst the Palestinians. They registered their anger and despair by resisting the influx of Jews but by acting in small groups that were disorganized. This could not do much to alter the situation. Their valiant efforts to defend their lands were ‘defeated’ by the manner in which the resistance was carried out in addition to external factors that did not help their cause.
The colonized Arab states could not mobilize their masses to help the beleaguered Palestinians. Unfortunately the Arab kings, installed by the British, only worsened the situation. They were on the British-Zionist side, not on the side of the Palestinians and this worsened the situation there.
Perhaps the only significant resistance that could be mentioned was that which was led by the Mufti of Palestine, Amin al-Hussaini. The Arabs arose to resist the Zionist aggression of their lands under the Mufti’s leadership but their resistance could not stop the gradual occupation of their lands by the Zionist hordes aided by the Western powers and some Arab leaders.
History has chronicled how the cause of the Arab nation had many a time been let down by the Arab rulers themselves. Whenever the Arabs rose to resist a foreign enemy, the Arab rulers would let them down. For instance, even though the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan were against the Zionist state of Israel, its king, Abdullah had secret meetings with then Zionist leader, Golda Meir, to prevent the group under Mufti Amin al-Hussaini to prevail in Palestine (Gilbert:150). Such was the level of treachery practiced by the Arab rulers.
The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was also constantly hunted down by the Jews as well as some Arab nations to the extent that they had to constantly shift their headquarters from one Arab city to another, from Amman, to Beirut and then to Tunis before finally being forced to take refuge in the autonomous region of Palestine in the West Bank (though still under occupation).
The illegal Jewish immigrants into Palestine mainly came from trained soldiers who had fought during the first World War on behalf of the European countries. Some held important military posts in the European armies and this experience would naturally be used against the Arab Palestinians when they came in huge numbers to flood the Palestinian state. They used their military skills to expel the original Arab population and seized Arab lands at will. The Zionist leadership was made up of military personnel at the time of the establishment of the illegal entity of Israel in 1948. Since then and up to the contemporary period almost all the leaders of Israel are from the military establishment. Obviously the ability of the soldier to violently expel the Arab Palestinian was the criteria in determining who would lead Zionist Israel. Moshe Dayan, Chaim Herzog, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Menachem Begin and Netanyahu were all military leaders who ‘excelled’ in evicting the Palestinians by force from their homes and lands. This is the reward they obtained for their vicious slaughter of innocent Palestinians when they illegally set up their Zionist state.
In the struggle to confront the Zionist aggression, the Arab nations took to the ideology of nationalism to unite the Arabs to face Israel. Yet they could not face the Zionist aggression as witnessed in the 1956 War which gave the Zionists more Arab land stretching even up to the Suez Canal. This Arab nationalism failed again in 1967 where in the June 6 day War, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and other Arab nations were defeated by the Israelis in a very short time. In fact the entire al-Quds was occupied by the Zionist army. Israel emerged as the strongest power in the Middle East.
The Zionist state of Israel true to its pariah status, refused and continues to refuse to abide by international law. This state has been condemned countless times and numerous resolutions have been passed by the UN censuring it and demanding it to take action to restore the status quo but it has always refused to do so. Resolution 242 of the UN demands that Israel return to the pre-1967 borders, but this has not happened and no country has demanded it to observe this!
The Zionists do not care for anyone else except themselves. They are arrogant and defiant relying on their military superiority over the Arab states and the full backing of the US to do whatever they wish without regard for international law.
The rhetoric one normally hears from the Arab states do no damage to Israel. They do not care for the Arab states want to say or do, because they know that these states are mere puppets of the Western powers, particularly the US, and would not threaten Israel. The Arab states do not pose a threat to the existence of Israel because they do not have the leadership that can handle this.
The trust that the Palestinians had in the Arab leaders was eventually destroyed when the Camp David talks were held. One by one the Arab leaders started recognizing Zionist Israel. The pre-1967 borders were accepted by these hypocritical Arab leaders as representing Zionist Israel. This despite the fact that the lands before 1967 were also seized and occupied illegally by the Zionist immigrants and terrorists. As a result the Palestinians took it upon themselves to fight for their rights and to regain their rightful land. They only relied upon themselves as they could no longer expect meaningful assistance from the other Arab nations.
The intifadhah was launched in 1987 and this resistance was spearheaded by the Islamic movement. This resistance was geared towards effective action to free Palestine from Zionist colonization. Using only rocks and slings the Intifadhah made effective moves to engage the Israeli war machine and did not give up in its efforts to impact as much damage on the Zionist army as possible. They soon received sympathy from other downtrodden peoples of the world for the courage and valour.
In Europe, NGOs and other civil society groups took to the streets to support the Palestinian cause. Demonstrations were held in European capitals from London to Pars to Brussels. Pressure became intense upon the Zionist regime to recognize the need to establish the state of Palestine. Eventually Zionist Israel had to accept the need to establish the autonomous region (of Palestine) that began from the Gaza Strip to Jericho and the West Bank. What the Arab leaders failed to do – to drive out the Israeli colonialist aggressors – the Palestinians themselves through the intifadhah managed to do. At least the establishment of the autonomous region was the direct result of the intifadhah, wherein the Palestinians managed to pressure the Zionists to accede some parts of the territory to the Palestinians.
Despite the failure to free all of Palestine, the limited concessions made by the Zionists was the direct result of the resistance of the Palestinian people.
The slogan of the struggle based on human rights, the right to return and freedom caught the attention of the global community. The people of many countries came forward to lend their support to the Palestinians and their desire to return to their homeland. This move has been seen as more appropriate from the nationalist slogan of the previous era. People are more concerned about human right to land and survival than the racial identity strategy before this. The Palestinian struggle to return to their homeland must be supported by all since it is a struggle to restore their rights.
The intifadhah opened a new chapter against the Zionist occupation. Now every bullet that killed a Palestinian would not go unanswered.
Any struggle that is based on rights and justice would eventually see success. The apartheid regime in South Africa was overthrown by the people because it was based on justice and human rights despite the regime receiving support from the British. The British had to accept that when a struggle is based on human rights, it would receive the support of the people of the world. When it became clear that the struggle against apartheid was legitimate, the British finally had to withdraw their support for the racist regime of South Africa.
The Zionist regime too can eventually be defeated as evidenced by the intifadhah of the Palestinians. The rise of the Hizbullah which is supported by the oppressed masses working together with the oppressed Palestinians have begun a new chapter in the struggle to end the occupation of the Zionist regime of Israel.
The June 2006 aggression against Lebanon by the Zionists was dealt a terrible blow by the valiant people of that country under the Hizbullah. For once the Israelis knew the meaning of defeat which they tasted at the hands of the Hizbullah. This was followed by the debacle in Gaza. Between 27 December 2008 and 17 January 2009, the Zionists pounded the Gaza without mercy thinking that they would finish off the Palestinian struggle spearheaded by Hamas and put an end to the legitimate struggle of the Palestinians. However, they were frustrated, when they failed to succumb the Palestinians, but the cruel nature of their aggression has been laid bare for the entire world to see.
Today the whole world is witnessing the atrocities that the Zionists had committed their Gaza campaign. Civil society has held demonstrations demanding that the Israelis be punished for their total disregard for the rights of the Palestinian people. Ordinary people cannot accept the brutal killing of innocent babies, children and women.
The Pharaoh of the past was defeated by Prophet Musa (as) following his kingdom’s enactment of a rule to kill all male babies born in his kingdom. The Egyptians rose to defeat the tyrannical regime. Today Israel has enacted a law to kill children and women, and this means that it going to face the same destiny as that of the Pharaoh. Despite the collusion of the Arab regimes with Israel to safeguard their own interests, the Palestinian uprising directed at restoring their legitimate rights would definitely achieve success.
The Arab regimes are of course wary of the success of the intifadhah; they feel that if the ‘powerful’ Zionist regime can be brought down, then their own people would also arise in a similar manner to bring down their corrupt rule. If the Zionist entity with the full backing of the Americans and the other Western powers can be defeated by the will of the Palestinian people, definitely the puppet Arab regimes would also go away.
That is why the Zionists are working with the Arab regimes to ensure that the Palestinian struggle does not become a success.
The apartheid regime of South Africa fell when its main sponsor, the British left it and took a neutral stand at the end stage of the anti-apartheid struggle. It was the pressure mounted by international NGOs upon Britain and its support that forced it to abandon the racist regime in South Africa. Will Obama change his stand on Israel, or pretend to show that he has changed his stand? After wasting billions of dollars in senseless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, will the US continue to spend more billions on the brutal regime of Israel? For how long have the US citizens to bear with the Zionist lobby that is controlling Washington? The money that is being wasted over Israel is more important to the recovery of the US economy instead. Unemployment is rising, banks going bankrupt, the jobless rate exploding out of control and much more which only mean that the US should return to domestic matters rather than waste its resources for another apartheid regime that is most brutal and uncivilized.
Obama has taken a different approach vis-à-vis Iran, in that he wants to dialogue with that nation. He also wants to dialogue with other nations considered its enemies in the past. The Zionist regime is worried that this would take place and causes the Obama administration to shift its attention from Israel to these other nations.
The Arab leaders are similarly worried, lest they are abandoned by the new administration. Both the Israelis and the Arabs were alarmed over Obama’s overtures towards Iran. If the Americans deserted them, then the Israeli and Arab regimes would become very shaky. A new dawn may emerge in the Middle East. The oppressed people may rise and force a new situation in that region. It would not be one determined by Zionist Israel and the Arab leaders.
This conference should take a bold step in endorsing and supporting the continuing intifidhah of the Palestinians. Democracy and the rights of the Palestinian people must be fully respected. Hamas that bas elected by the Palestinian in the freest elections in January 2006 must be recognized as the legitimate government of the Palestinians. The struggle of the Palestinians spearheaded by Hama, Islamic Jihad or other similar groups must be fully supported. Arab nationalism is no more relevant; always the Arab nationalist regimes have betrayed the cause of the Palestinian people.
The right to return, the right to live peacefully amongst the three religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism must be restored. As for the Muslims, their right to administer the Holy Quds must be supported and restores.
The rights of the Palestinians must always be supported by the international NGOs. Thes NGOs must continue to pressure the US and Britain to stop their protection of the Zionist and Arab regimes that are not democratic. If our efforts continue, we believe we will be successful and the rights of the Palestinians can be restored.
(This paper was presented at the "Conference for Permanent Resistance" at Beirut)