By Fra Hughes, Belfast – May 13, 2021
Al Quds the red line
Al Quds or Jerusalem, is the red line for the Palestinian people, the diaspora, and the Arab collective.
It is the capital of Palestine and home to the third holiest shrine in Islam, the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad was transported from the Great Mosque in Mecca to Al Aqsa during the Night Journey. Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site for 16-17 months after his migration to Mecca.
So how did we get to this current impasse?
Jerusalem is in flames, Gaza is being bombed back to the stone age, Israeli Zionists and illegal settlers are attacking Palestinian business, homes, people in the streets, at their residences and places of worship.
Palestinians are defending themselves by any means necessary.
I won’t give a historical lecture just some pertinent facts.
The first Zionist Congress was held in 1897 in Basel. Switzerland. It was decided then that European antisemitism needed to be challenged and that a new state for the Jewish people free from European antisemitism was to be created.
Several ideas were considered, including Madagascar, Uganda, and some Latin American countries.
Finally, it was decided Palestine would become the new Israel.
From 1901 onwards the Jewish National Fund began buying land in Palestine. Palestine at that time was part of the Ottoman empire.
The land was bought from absentee Turkish landowners, the Palestinians were put off the land and Jewish only migrants employed.
This continued up until the World War I. The British formed regiments of Palestinian and Arab troops promising them freedom from Ottoman occupation if they fought for Britain.
When the war ended the troops dispersed and Britain and France carved up the Middle-East as a prize for both their colonial empires.
All manifestations of violence today in the Middle-East stem from the Sykes-Picot agreement and the redrawing of the old Ottoman Empire into a new white European colonial construct. All those who fought for Britain and for the freedom of small nations were abandoned. They were simply cannon fodder to save British lives by using expendable Arab lives.
The Jewish National fund continued to buy up land and displace the indigenous population.
As the 1920s progressed clashes were witnessed between the European colonists and the indigenous population with riots in Jerusalem during this decade.
With the outbreak of World War II, Zionist designs to fully colonise Palestine were in place.
After 1945 further ethnic clashes occurred. The Zionists were fully armed and trained and the Palestinians had no army, just collections of neighbours and villagers trying to defend their homes and families.
The Stern Gangs, The Hagana and the Irgun began a campaign to terrorise, murder and displace the indigenous population. They succeeded with the help of Britain and America at the UN, and the state of Palestine under the British Mandate was partitioned and the new state of Israel born at the point of terrorist guns. 750,000 Palestinians were forced into exile into the surrounding Arab countries and the systematic erasure of the Palestinian footprint in the new state began. Villages were destroyed so their inhabitants could not return. Businesses taken over by Jewish Zionist families, homes sequestered and the land stolen.
This happened again in 1967 during the six-day war with the occupation of the West Bank. This continued occupation and the siege on Gaza from 2007 are a continuation of the policy of the theft of homes, theft of land, theft of resources and the displacement of the indigenous population.
From the Wild West to the Middle-East, the European white colonial settlement of North America and Canada has become the blueprint for the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.
We can see the house evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem for what they really are. A continuation of the Zionist Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
It is a microcosm of everyday reality and life under occupation.
These house possessions by zionists are just the latest step in the long path to the total Judification of Palestine.
West Jerusalem is already nearly 100% Zionist.
The leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, is reportedly facing criminal corruption charges and is hanging on to power as leader of an extremist zionist political party Likud by the skin of his teeth.
Now if you remember, the Israeli military occupation is illegal under international law.
The Zionist settlements are illegal under international law.
Every day Palestinians watch their homes land and businesses confiscated by the Israeli occupation.
These daily injustices lead to a growing sense of frustration, anger and discontent.
During the Holy Muslim Festival of Ramadan, up to 100,000 Palestinians gather for prayer and worship daily at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, known as Al Quds in the Arab world.
The Israeli illegal occupation forces then attacked the peaceful worshippers in the compound adjacent to the Al Aqsa mosque.
They attacked people through dispersal squads who use sound bombs, chemical canisters, arrests and assaults to clear any groups who might congregate.
This means family, friends, neighbours and communities cannot gather in conversation in the community and in peace at the end of the day attending or leaving prayer.
The scenes witnessed all over the Arab, Persian and Muslim world of peaceful worshippers, many of them women, being attacked inside the mosque at prayer, has led to the resistance groups in Gaza launching primitive rockets at Israel in retaliation for the Israeli state brutalisation of Palestinians at the mosque and under occupation.
Israel’s disproportionate response by launching military sorties from land, sea and air has destroyed buildings and killed scores of men, women and children.
While Israelis cower in their bomb shelters from the falling debris of Palestinian rockets with a payload similar to an enormous firework the Gazan’s have no bomb shelters, no air force, no navy and no land army.
They have a few rockets, machine guns, mortars and rifles to defend themselves against one the largest modern military machines in the world today.
While Biden, yet another pro-Zionist American President, phones Netanyahu to give his support to the ‘Israel must have the right to defend itself ‘mantra, all we will see and hear from western media propagandists are more Zionist cries of victimhood.
I have been to Gaza on a medical aid convoy in 2010. I have walked the streets the Zionists are returning to rubble.
They intend to bomb Gaza back to the stone age.
Electricity only runs for a few hours a day in Gaza. Fresh drinking water is nearly unheard of and bottled water and fuel for generators are sold to Gaza by Israel.
With total land, sea and air blockade of Gaza, the population with huge unemployment rates, nearly 70% for the young, Gazans watch each day as Israel destroys Gaza through its bombing campaign, one building one house one business one apartment block one family at a time. The fear the people and especially the children must be living under is unimaginable.
What can we do?
Support the right of Palestinians as enshrined in International Law to free themselves from occupation by any means necessary.
Go on a protest.
Support BDS and boycott Israel goods and companies.
Demand your government to divest from the political and financial support of Israel.
Once the killings and bombings stop all the people you see protesting will go home and the Palestinians and the Yemenis and the Syrians will be forgotten.
Please remember it’s not just Palestine the Zionists want to destroy. They want total hegemonic control over the entire region.
That means destroying any country and its peoples that it cannot control. Look at Iraq and Libya, see Syria and Yemen, watch them threaten Lebanon and Iran.
Israel is cancer in the body politics of the region. Like cancer, it must respond to treatment or the host and the body die.
There will soon be 1 million Zionist Jewish settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. They are all illegal. The Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying force (Israel) from moving its civilian population (settlers) into the occupied territory.
UN Resolution 194 states that Palestinians exiled from their homes, land and property have the Right of Return.
Israel has never let the Palestinians return.
It continues to usurp their rights and ethnically cleanse the West Bank of its indigenous peoples through dispersal and dispossession.
In 1901, they had a dream of land free from hatred from discrimination from racial and religious prejudice.
Far from creating this land, they created a state based on hatred discrimination racial and religious prejudice.
For many outsiders, Israel and the settlers have become the very thing they set out to escape!
Featured image: Palestinian women demonstrate at the Gaza-Israel fence, reiterating the Palestinian Right of Return recognized by the UN. Israel has never allowed the Palestinian refugees to return, and continue to ethnically cleanse the region. Photo: Anadolu Agency
Fra Hughes is an Irish political activist, commentator, and author. His most recent books are My Walk with Palestine: an Activist's Tale and Voices from Donbass.
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