Displaying items by tag: palestine conflict

Sunday, 19 May 2019 08:43

Give peace a chance

The anti-Israel demonstrations that were held recently in London, Germany, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands last week clearly showed that the atrocities committed by the Israeli Defence Forces against helpless Palestinians deserve unequivocal condemnation by the world.

What is really frustrating about the asymmetrical conflict between Israel and Palestine is the fact that the Trump administration, just like its predecessors, remains committed to ensuring Israel’s military dominance in the region.

The entanglement of the US in this protracted conflict has inevitably aggravated the situation by financing and supporting Israel’s settlement programmes in the occupied territories. Put in another way, Israel and the US have never been committed to the peace process. As long as the US provides the support, Israel will use it to suppress the Palestinians.

What Israel aims to achieve is very clear for the world to see, which is to annex the occupied territories, reduce the Arab population as well as to disperse the refugees and crush any manifestation of Palestinian nationalism or culture.

Israel’s policy towards Palestine is consistent with the rejection of any political settlement that accommodates rights of the indigenous population. Clearly, Israel is not in support of a two-state political settlement that would include recognised borders, security guarantees, and reasonable prospects for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. What is more, Israel’s conduct in dealing with Palestinian transgressions has been over the top.

While it is true that certain segments of Palestinian society are equally responsible for soliciting retaliations from Israel by launching terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, the latter, however, has used excessive force in responding to Palestinian provocations and the rate of Palestinian civilian casualties is alarming.

A precursor to the ongoing schism between Israel and Palestine is the setting up of the state of Israel in 1948, the subsequent attack by the Arab armies in 1967 and the 1973 attack against Israel by Egypt and Syria, also known as the Yom Kippur War.

It should be highlighted that the Arabs of Palestine were not in favour of a Jewish state and large-scale Jewish immigration which more often than not had led to dispossession of their lands. The Arabs were not consulted in the preparation of the European plans to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

While it may seem natural for the Arabs not to peaceably accept the confiscation of their land, this protest by the Arabs is described as anti-Semitism in certain Western circles. The West tends to accept the position expressed by Lord Arthur Balfour, author of the Balfour declaration of 1917, in which Britain promised a Jewish national home in Palestine, as the natural point of departure.

Arab opposition to Britain’s proposal to establish a Jewish state was an open secret and could be tied to president Woodrow Wilson’s King-Crane Commission findings in 1919 which reported that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. The commission also estimated that nearly all of the Arab population in Palestine were emphatically against the entire Zionist programme, and warned that to subject them to this programme would be a gross violation of the principle of self-determination and of the people’s rights.

More importantly, the world should be reminded that the establishment in Palestine of a national home of the Jewish people was premised on the condition that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. What has happened is anything but respect for Palestinian rights.

The rape of Palestinian human rights is very well documented. President Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is an excellent rendition of Israel’s systematic discrimination against Palestinians. Under this oppressive system, Israelis are totally dominant and tend to suppress violence by violating Palestinians’ basic human rights. Palestinians are being herded into places that are surrounded by walls, fences, and Israeli checkpoints reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s Auschwitz concentration camp.

But over the years, many Arab states have come to accept the sovereignty of Israel. Despite the many road maps to peace that were brokered by the superpowers, peace between Israel and Palestine remains elusive. One of the many contributing factors for the continued conflict is the Israelis’ thirst for Palestinian land.

The growing conflict between Israel and Palestine is also related to the condoning of illegal actions of the former by a pliant American administration, and Israel’s continued defiance of United Nations Resolution 242 which is still the binding law that condemns the acquisition of land by force and requires Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.

On their part, the Palestinians have to stop honouring suicide bombers and targeting Israeli civilians.

Most of all, both conflicting parties have to be willing to give peace a chance.

Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk is the director of the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia

Published in: New Straits Times, 19 May 2019

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/05/489633/give-peace-chance

Monday, 12 February 2018 13:54

Israel's brand of terrorism

All across the globe, Israel has been called a terrorist state. Since its inception, the country has used its intelligence service (Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil.

In the Middle East, terror has been perpetrated by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people. However, they defend their actions as a “sign of strength” and “resilience”.

It is not a surprise that a few days after United States President Donald Trump called for the US embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israelis again showed “strength”.

Mohammed Zeidan, director of Human Rights Association in Nazareth, said since that day, “seven minors have been seriously injured by Israelis forces”.

The US has turned a blind eye to Israel’s misuse of US-supplied tear gas, bulldozers and munitions to commit human rights violations against the Palestinians.

A Pennsylvania-based company, Combined Systems Incorporated, has for years, supplied Israel with tear gas, a non-lethal means for crowd dispersal and control.

“Israel has repeatedly used tear gas at close range on unarmed protesters who posed no threat to soldiers, often injuring and even killing them.

“There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel.”

Palestinians are still viewed by the state, and much of the Israeli public, as enemy combatants. A few years ago, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israeli civilians who owned firearms to carry them at all times and be ready to use them.

Last week, Israeli member of parliament Oren Hazan verbally harassed Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip journeying by bus to visit imprisoned relatives in an Israeli prison, calling their sons “dogs” and “terrorists”.

He told them: “You educated your son to murder and we will show your son to the ground.”

Oren said the bus was carrying the families of “animals”.

Many Israeli politicians like Hazan have used psychological terrorism against the Palestinians through the worst humiliation and abuse imaginable.

Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of international law. Families of Palestinian prisoners must, therefore, apply for hard-to-obtain permits to enter Israel and visit them, usually in buses organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Terrorism has been the hallmark of Israeli leaders, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, among others.

Assassination of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals in Europe and the Middle East has happened for years.

Israel used chemical weapons in the attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal, a Hamas leader, in Amman in 1997 on the orders of Netanyahu.

Israel was the “first, fundamental and only suspect in the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat”, based on the reports of Swiss and Russian scientists on a sample taken from the exhumed corpse of the Palestinian leader.

Although the cause of Arafat’s death has never been determined in real confidence, one can quote several Israeli leaders who stated that “killing Arafat is a viable option”.

Israeli violence is not limited to Palestinians but includes the assassination of the British minister, Lord Moyne, in 1944 in Cairo as planned by Shamir, a former Israeli prime minister. Another assassination, of the Swedish nobleman Count Folke Bernadotte on Sept 17, 1948, in Jerusalem, was alleged to be on the orders of Shamir.

Bernadotte’s sin was his recommendation, as the United Nations mediator, that Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their homes by Israel should be allowed to return.

This recommendation was the substance of the UN resolution 194, on Dec 11, 1948, stipulating the right of return for the Palestinian refugees as soon as possible.

The first deliberate act of shooting down a civilian airliner was carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by fighter jets over Sinai in February 1973, on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, killing 107 passengers and its entire French crew.

Israeli terror was not restricted to Palestinians, Arabs and Europeans, but included its own closest supporter and ally, the US. In 1954, Israeli secret agents bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centres. The attacks were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to maintain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.

Israel’s Mossad agents, too, were the ones who carried out the much-publicised assassinations of four Iranian scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan — between 2010 and 2012.

The noted British historian, Arnold Toynbee, in a 1961 lecture at McGill University, Canada, delivered to a largely Jewish audience, highlighted the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jews, thus: “The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews... The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn.”

The Palestinian people today are calling for a modicum of justice. This will not happen if we continue to condone Israel’s state-sponsored terrorism.

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and Japan Institute of International Affairs fellow, and a former lecturer of UiTM Shah Alam and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak.

Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 29 December 2017

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/12/319394/israels-brand-terrorism

Friday, 19 January 2018 15:06

Israel must respect rights of others

On Dec 6, United States President Donald Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision, since rejected by the international community, has caused significant consternation amongst Muslims, for whom Jerusalem (in Arabic al-Quds, ‘The Holy’) was both the first qibla (direction of prayer) and the scene of the mi’raj, or the Prophet Muhammad’s ascent into Heaven.......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)



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