Since 1902

International community has let Palestinians down for 74 years

Palestinian demonstrators burn representations of U.S. flags. [Reuters]

An immoral scheme was perpetrated by Great Britain at the beginning of the 20th Century through the engineering of the League of Nations’ Mandate.

Entrusted over Palestine, the system was used to serve and implement the illegal 1917 Balfour Declaration in which the British “His Majesty’s Government” pledged to the Zionist Federation to use their “best endeavours to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

By promising what they do not own, the immorality and illegality of this declaration shall continue to be a shameful chapter that haunts Britain’s history.

While the original plan of the Zionist Movement for creating a homeland for Jews considered other territories such as East Africa, the Congo, Cyprus, and as far as Argentina in Latin America, the curse fell upon Palestine when it was selected as a convenient destination through signifying historical connections that have existed for over 2000 years when their “ancestors” once lived there.

Despite all forms of encouragement and financing, made available by the Zionist movement and the British administration, to encourage European Jews to move to Palestine over a span of more than 25 years, the Jewish component of the population of Palestine only rose from 8 per cent in the beginning of the 20th Century to 32 per cent in 1948. 

While Muslim and Christian Arab Palestinians still constituted the majority of population at 68 per cent, the victorious powers of the second world war in an attempt to morally compensate for the horrific atrocities committed against their European Jewish citizens, sympathised with the Zionist Movement’s aspirations.

To solve the so-called “Palestine Problem”, the United Nations decided to divide the land and give 64 per cent to the newly arriving European Jewish immigrants and 46 per cent to the indigenous Arab Palestinians, Muslims and Christians. 

Arab Palestinians have since been united in opposing this land theft of their homeland and the disturbance it has caused to the spirit of coexistence that had for many centuries prevailed in the Holy Land.

Coming under increasing resentment and resistance from indigenous Muslims and Christian Arabs, and facing terrorist acts perpetrated by outlawed Zionist terrorist organisations, such as Irgun, Lehi and Hagganah, Great Britain ultimately deferred to the United Nations what had become “the Palestine problem” and withdrew their forces from Palestine, ushering a full-fledged confrontation in Palestine.

Weaponised with the latest warfare technology humanity had achieved in the 1940s, these Zionist militias unleashed the wrath of British and European airplanes, heavy artillery, machine guns and grenades to overcome the Palestinians and the humble surrounding Arab armies that came to the rescue.

Zionist militias devastated Palestinian villages and towns, leading according to United Nations records, to the displacement of 800,000 out of the 1.4 million Palestinians, and the destruction of almost 400 villages, and confiscation of their homes and properties.

This is marked in the Palestinian Memory as the Nakba or the “Catastrophe”, referring to the ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the near-total destruction of the Palestinian society in 1948.

Seventy-four years have passed and the pursuit of justice and right of return for the now more than six million refugees scattered around the neighbouring countries and the diaspora, is still ongoing. 

Over seven decades, the Palestinians have witnessed the failure of the international community to end the longest contemporary foreign occupation and systematic violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

Providing impunity for Israel, the occupying power, from complying with hundreds of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions has only prolonged the suffering and allowed for more avoidable loss of lives and property, and undermining of international law and the principle of accountability. 

In the hope of building a future of coexistence, peace and security, Palestinian leadership accepted 22 per cent of what was their ancestral homeland. This measure was specifically undertaken for it was an investment for future peace and closure of painful chapter the palestinians had gone through.

Regretfully, the greed of the occupying power continues to extend beyond the margins of international law, Security Council Resolutions, and against the will of the overwhelming majority of the Members of the United Nations.

While commemorating the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Catastrophe “Nakba”, Palestinians shall continue to borrow leaf after leaf from the African examples of struggling for independence and self-determination.

Kenya’s founding fathers' struggle and diplomatic discourse to end the colonial rule, shall continue to inspire us Palestinians as we exercise the same right under the United Nations Charter for self-determination and independence. Foreign occupation, suppression, apartheid, and discrimination on basis of race or religion, have no place in today’s world.