On this day in 1967, a bitter war was taking place that will be remembered in history as the Six Day War but it’s ramifications far surpass it's brief moment in history.
Leading up to it, Britain and the UN promised the land that belonged to the Palestinians to another people, despite having no moral, political, or legal right to do so. And thus the problem began.
The UN drafted a partition of historic Palestine that resulted in the mass displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians for the foundation of a Jewish State in 1948. By the end of that year, two thirds of the Palestinian population was exiled mostly under direct military assault.
From its conception, a Jewish state founded in Zionist ideology is a project that is considered to be one of the most violent forms of settler colonialism, racism and apartheid.
It not only exploits and discriminates against the colonized, but also seeks to take full control of their lives, land and resources and to ethnically cleanse them from their land by any means. David Ben Gurion was elected as the first Israeli prime minister and said “We must use terror, assassinations, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of it's Arab population.” The Zionist project was just beginning.
Despite the Zionist victory of establishing a state for the Jewish people, Israel continued to persist with the Zionist objectives of taking full control of all Palestinian land beyond the UN established boundaries known as the Green Line.
On June 5th 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against the Palestinians and on Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It subsequently occupied the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights and the West Bank.
Immediately following the Six Day War, Israel began building Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, eventually building over 200 settlements throughout the occupied territories, and settling over 540,000 Israelis in them by displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their legally owned lands.
After the war, the debate shifted from Israel's right to exist to the issue of Israel's boundaries and it's subsequent ongoing development and expansion of illegal settlements.
That Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are considered illegal under international law is a consensus position shared by the British Government, European Union, United Nations and International Court of Justice. Apart from being a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel’s colonizing settlement policies violate the human rights of the Palestinians and are “inherently discriminatory”. They are thus deemed an ‘obstacle to peace’ by those same agencies. There has also been growing evidence that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during the many wars it has instigated.
Yet, it appears these laws are nothing but a number of paper pushing exercises with zero implementation and zero consequences for prolific offender Israel.
Approximately five million Palestinians remain the largest and longest suffering group of refugees in the world. 67% of all Palestinians worldwide are refugees or internally displaced. Meanwhile Israel promotes and automatically grants citizenship to any Jewish person around the world under the Israeli Law of Return.
Since 1948 when Palestinian ownership of Palestinian land was 93%, Israel has progressively seized more and more land until Palestinian ownership now is less than 10% and under heavy Israeli control prohibiting autonomous use and development. Israeli settlement plans are ever accelerating.
Those who remain in Palestine are either living insufferable lives devoid of human rights in the West Bank; under discriminatory rule in Israel or dying in besieged Gaza.
The laws have not been upheld and the discussions are just as the same as they were in 1948 when Palestinian refugees were promised their UN stipulated Right of Return and right to compensation; and just as in 1967 when the whole world concurred that Israel's occupation and settlements are illegal.
It is therefore clear that all of the agencies involved are untrustworthy and incapable of upholding even their own laws and should not be trusted with the world's governance or management of justice and peace in the region.
This inability to obtain justice for the Palestinians is at the root of the Israel- Palestinian conflict and a menace to the world’s peace. Any attempts for peace talks have been mere tokenism and decoration for the underlying consent and impunity of Israel’s actions.
We do not need more talks, we do not need more peace conferences. Palestinian historian Anis Sayegh once stated "To this day we are still discussing UN resolutions and European and American initiatives to give the West a chance to prove it's good intentions, as if 70 years haven't been enough.”
We need at minimum for those self-elected world-governing agencies to implement their own existing laws. Britain and France owe an apology and acknowledgement of their role in the crimes they have committed and enabled to be committed against the Palestinian people; and have an obligation to take the right actions.
The international community has been for a century turning a blind eye to the plight of the Palestinian people and actions are required urgently to address the tragedy that has resulted in one set of people giving a second people the land of a third people. Without justice there can be no true peace.
The right actions however are not more negotiations or peace talks for appearances, but holding Israel to account. Netanyahu and many Palestinians have denounced the recent efforts made by France's peace initiative. For different reasons, but ultimately it shows that yet another peace initiative is futile. Implementation, not negotiation, is required. The Palestinians have a right to self-determination, to their human rights and to exist.
Is it not shameful to raise the hopes of Palestinian people with merely a sugar coat attempt from Europe? Most of all, it is not France, but Britain that needs to take the brunt of the responsibility in seeking justice for the Palestine by addressing its shameful past in enabling and sustaining this century old conflict.
On 23 November 2019, EuroPal Forum and Middle East Monitor co-hosted a conference at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London on the relations between Europe and Palestine. A first of its kind, the conference brought together individuals at the forefront of discourse on Palestine in
As the European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that European Union countries must identify products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, MEMO and EuroPal Forum are hosting a conference to discuss the EU’s position on major issues related to the occupat