The question of Palestine can be analyzed as a prolonged conflict among various actors throughout periods, which still continues even after the Second World War similar to the questions of Kashmir and the Kurds. In this flow of historical measures of occupation and colonialism, the urge for a liberated nation comes in contact with the resistance and struggle. The armed battles in the name of Palestine by various Arab and West Asian countries with the state of Israel made huge tragedies to the Arab block. The continuing occupation under the Israeli military raises grave concerns over the future of Palestinians living across the world. While discussing the struggle of Palestinian people, Hamid Dabashi points out: “Palestinians are Palestinians not just by virtue of their historic rootedness in their ancestral homeland of Palestine, but also by a sustained course of resistance to the Zionist theft of their homeland and the collective and the cultural memory that resistance has generated”.
The historical transformations of Palestine and the Israeli-occupied territories are mostly reflecting a scene of defeat and despotism from the hands of Israel. The Ethnic Cleansing of 1948 (Nakba) and the establishment of Israeli State made a huge crime against humanity, which expelled Palestinians and made them refugees to the world countries. The battles of 1956, 1967 and 1973 affected vehemently on their future survival. The succeeding regimes of Israeli Knesset implementing various means of elimination and expulsion of Palestinians from their land. Here we can not see any dramatic change in the policies of Right-wing or Liberal regimes towards Palestinians. Currently, the whole scenario is under huge threat by the emergence of a far right government in Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu. The ghettoization of Gaza strip and gradual control of West Bank region have been executed by the Israeli governments and Armed Forces with the policy of illegal settlements and construction of an apartheid wall. Ilan Pappe observes the apartheid nature of Israel: “The colonialist history has many chapters in common and some of the features of the apartheid system can be found in the Israeli policies toward its own Palestinian minority and toward those in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”.
While looking into the strategies adopted by the Palestinian people and their movements, we can see a pragmatic transformation in the means of struggle and resistance. But the aim and objectives are very much constant even after half a century of prolonged confrontation. The emergence of various movements for the sake of the liberation of Palestine reveals ample models of resistance, but one’s failure gives birth to next, as in the case of PLO and Fatah. The upheavals of Intifada made the voices of Palestinians be heard on a global scale while receiving various measures of solidarity and support to their cause. In the present time, we can see the major players of Palestine territories as the Palestine Authority with the support of Fatah who rules the West Bank and Hamas, who rules Gaza strip. The emergence of Hamas through a democratic election in 2006 made many ambiguities to the Israeli-American policy makers. Soon after Israel started the blockade and sanctions on the people of Gaza strip -who gave the mandate to Hamas in the election- and made it literally an ‘Open Prison’. The pathetic condition of Fatah dealing with Israel under the jurisdiction of Palestine Authority leads to an internal political passivity and external Israeli aggression. The discussions on a unity government of Fatah and Hamas have been going on without any pragmatical implications.
The question of Palestine is largely centered on the question of Al Quds or Jerusalem and its status quo. This Holy site of major three religions has been known as a space of rivalry throughout historical periods. The legitimacy of control over this site made huge battles among Muslims, Christians, and Jews at various junctures of history. The emergence of Zionism in Europe made a great deal in the course of history with their direct intervention to create a Zionist state under the slogan of ‘A land without a people for a people without a land’. Even though Zionism emerged as a secular ideology with a political agenda, they have been declared their convictions on the ancient Judaic traditions of ‘Greater Jerusalem’ and a ‘homeland for Jewish People’. Their support to the British Colonialism in the wake of the First World War and later tragic events of the Second World War especially Nazi Holocaust made a huge cry for the establishment of a Jewish state in the territories of Palestine. The site of Al Quds was declared as a part of International Community under the United Nations. Since 1967, this site comes under the protection of Jordan Waqf under an agreement, in which Muslims can pray at Al Aqsa and Jews can only visit their holy places. Later the aggression of Israel towards East Jerusalem and various battles threatened the status of Al Quds and its Al Aqsa compound. The Israeli policies of gradual aggression and control of Al Aqsa area through surveillance and restrictions of people under age of 50 to enter the mosque premises led to large outrages in the global scenario. Recently, the move of Israel to shut down Al Aqsa compound for the first time since 1969 and to install new security measures at the Al Aqsa compound invited huge condemnation and protest across the world. The International Community observed ‘the day of rage’ on Friday, 21st July to protest against the Israeli aggression on International laws and treaties. Later, Israel agreed to remove such security machinery and allowed everyone to enter the compound.
The encroachment of Palestinian land and their homes by the Israeli settlers in the West Bank and Gaza still continues with coercion and impunity. The latest report of the occupation of Abu Rajab Family’s house in Hebron in West Bank on 28th July reveals the real story of illegal settlements. The hundreds of settlers with the help of Israeli police and military took over the house and hoisted Israeli flag on it. It was an outrageous act by settlers, in which it violates the Oslo Accords of 1993 with the aim of expansion of settler colonies in West Bank. Even the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly involved in this case to allow settlers to remain in the house, which clearly reveals the mentality of the Israeli government towards Palestinians. The protesting voices of Palestinians were heard little in the ears of global community throughout the years, where the protection of land itself is the method of survival and steadfastness.
While analyzing the current scenario of solidarity gestures to the Palestinian people across the world, we can see a large chunk of countries are standing with the Israeli colonialism and settlement regime. The expressions of solidarity and support are in high demand in these times of trouble from internal and external arenas. The regional interests and the influence of Jewish Lobby of the United States of America always supported Israel against every move from other countries and movements. The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement is getting threats and challenges on daily basis to sustain economic interests of Israel. At the same time, the supporting countries of Palestine are also receiving an aggressive form of the boycott at a global level. The recent sanctions of major GCC countries and Egypt against Qatar since 5th June 2017 can be seen as an example of this growing Zionist support. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt have severed the diplomatic relations with Qatar on the pretext of Qatar’s support to ‘Terrorism’ and Al Jazeera Channel and relations with Iran. The one of main accused terrorist organization was Hamas, in which Qatar has supported them financially and diplomatic ways. Qatar’s support for the people of Gaza and Hamas is a part of their soft power strategy and they have their own stands on the Anti-Israel diplomacy. The same patterns of restrictions and sanctions can be analyzed in the matter of Iran, in which it has been portrayed as an adjacent danger and threat to the existence of Zionist Israel. Meanwhile, Israel is the single country with a Nuclear weapon in the whole West Asian region. Here the matter comes clear that when a country is acting against the interests of Israel and the American regional security, it would be treated as ‘Terrorist sympathizer and supporter’. At the same time, the terror which the USA and Israel have been creating in the West Asian region and Palestine never been questioned before the global community.
We are witnessing a growing support of countries to Israel and its colonial aspiration towards Palestine, latest by the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Tel Aviv. The rise of Donald Trump in America and Narendra Modi in India would create a situation of keeping Israeli interests at best by excluding every aspiration of Palestinians from the table. On the other hand, the long-lasting support of Turkey, Iran and Qatar to the Palestinian people gives hope and confidence to the International Community. The recent upheavals of protests against Israeli restriction in Al Aqsa mosque across the world sustain the vigor of resistance and liberation of Palestine. As Hamid Dabashi argues “irrespective of being Muslim, for Palestinians at large, Haram al-Sharif (Al Aqsa) is also the symbolic summation of their homeland”. It is high time to form larger solidarities for the sake of oppressed people on a global level and to make our voices heard at the citadels of power. The question of Palestine could only be answered by the perpetual political pressure and pragmatic means of solidarity.
- Chomskey, Noam and Ilan Pappe (2015), On Palestine, Chicago: Haymarket Books.
- Dabashi, Hamid. (2015), “What does Haram al-Sharif mean to Palestinians?”, Al Jazeera, November 4, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/11/haram-al-sharif-palestinians-jerusalem-intifada-151101102056252.html
- Fanack Chronicle of the Middle East & North Africa (2015), “Is Israel Really Committed to the Status Quo on the Temple Mount?”, November 18, https://chronicle.fanack.com/palestine/geography/cities/jerusalemal-quds/the-status-quo-on-the-temple-mount/
- Pappe, Ilan. (2006), The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, Oxford: One World Publications.
- Sanchez, Raf. (2017), “Clashes break out as Palestinians return to al-Aqsa mosque after two-week standoff with Israel”, The Telegraph, July 27, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/27/palestinians-return-al-aqsa-mosque-two-week-standoff-israel/
- Sonaullah, Iqbal. (2017), “Palestine’s best hope lies in Turkey”, TRT World, August 3, http://www.trtworld.com/opinion/palestines-best-hope-lies-in-turkey-415005