Cinderella and the Middle East 2

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Fred de Haas

January 2020 
Part 1part 2, NL-1, NL-2

The Balfour Declaration

David Ben Gourion[1]

Still before the end of the war, a document came up that went down in history as the ‘Balfour Declaration’.

 Several versions of the Declaration have been made, including a text by Weizmann stating that Palestine would be ‘restored’ to its original form.
His text suggested a historical continuity that in fact did not exist. For this reason, his proposal would not make it.

The British, who realized very well what they had more or less promised the Arabs, i.e. an Arab State, and who at the same time wanted to take into account the colonial aspirations of France, insisted on the possibly most vague wording of a text that would leave sufficient room for interpretation.

The opinion of Ben Gourion, who stayed in the US, was clear:

“we want a socially rightful State but we also want a State with a Jewish majority, where the majority of the Jewish people, if not all Jews, would live. Your turn of phrase obscures things. Neither the Jews nor the Arabs will understand the text.”

As far as the latter was concerned, Ben Gourion was absolutely right.

Balfour’s letter to Rothschild, 1917[2]

The Balfour statement was expressed in a letter from Lord Arthur James Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, to Lord Walter Rothschild, in which the British Government supported the establishment of a ‘Jewish National Home’. The following is the text of the Declaration of November 2nd, 1917. Copied text (italics by the author of this article):

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

Arthur James Balfour

No self-determination for the Palestinians

The Balfour Declaration of the British Government

Before the Declaration was made public it was carefully perused, not only by the British government, but also by the Zionists. The British Government made it known through this refined text that it was ‘favourably disposed’ to the establishment of a ‘national home’ in Palestine for the Jews. So they didn’t make a solemn promise.

It was clear that the ‘civil rights’ of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine should not be harmed (these words were meant to dispel Lord Curzon’s doubts), but it remained very clear that the rights and political status held by the Jews in other countries would be respected (in order to prevent anti-Semitic reactions, that is).

The Declaration did not make it clear what exactly would be the political rights of non-Jewish communities (read: predominantly Arabs, because these formed 90% of the population). There was no mention of their political rights.

The Declaration did not make it clear what exactly would be the political rights of non-Jewish communities (read: predominantly Arabs, because these formed 90% of the population). There was no mention of their political rights.

And what was meant by ‘civil rights’? No one knew, not even the British High Commissioner, when asked by J.M.N. Jeffries (Palestine: ‘The Reality’, Longmans, Green & Co., 1939).

Lord Walter Rothschild[3]

And what did these ‘best endeavours’ (= as serious efforts as possible) mean? How would one promote that ‘national home’? The Zionists would later replace for their own use the term ‘National Home’ first by ‘Jewish Commonwealth’ and finally by ‘Jewish State’.

The Declaration shows that the British (and the Zionists) actually held the view that Palestine did not belong to its current inhabitants. There were 90% non-Jews living in Palestine at the time.

A people who almost in its entirety lived in the Diaspora would therefore be more entitled to live in Palestine than the people who had been rooted there for centuries! According to the French lawyer Monique Chemillier-Gendreau, a specialist in this field, the Declaration was completely illegal, because the sovereignty over a country always belongs to the people.

The Balfour Declaration did not give the Palestinians the right to self-determination. The French government reacted, when requested, quite neutral to the Declaration. They agreed with the British Government on the issue of a Jewish establishment in Palestine (‘un établissement juif en Palestine’).

The Italian Government did not conceal that it saw what the Balfour Declaration was up to. The Italians promised cooperation on the condition that

“there would be no harm done to the legal and political status of existing religious communities nor to the civil and political rights that the Israelites in any other country whatsoever enjoyed”.

‘Old traditions’

Lord Arthur Balfour himself was extremely well acquainted with the Bible through his Protestant upbringing, and that makes it plausible that he had a tendency to give the Jews a preferential treatment. After all, in 1919 he wrote to Lord Curzon that

“Zionism, whether it is right or not, whether it is good or bad, had its roots in ancient traditions, in actual needs, in future hopes which were of a more profound importance than the claims and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs that now populated this ancient land”

Doreen Ingrams, Palestine Papers, 1917-1922, p. 73; Memorandum, 11 augustus 1919.

Within two centuries, the transition from a vague dream to a colonial project had become a fact. Weizmann wrote:

“We Jews have received the Balfour Declaration unexpectedly; in other words, we are the main winners of the war. We didn’t even dream of a Balfour Declaration. To be completely honest, it unexpectedly fell into our lap.”

King Crane Commission rejects the Balfour Declaration

King Faisal of Iraq with Chaim Weizmann (left), 1918 [4]

U.S. President Wilson, incidentally a true colonialist with racist ideas about African-Americans, wanted to hear from a special committee their opinion on the Balfour Declaration. This was to be the King Crane Committee. This Committee made a difference between a ‘Jewish Homeland’ and a ‘Jewish State’. A Jewish State

“would mean the most serious violation of the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”
(“the gravest infringement upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”).

The Committee’s proposal marked a clear change in the extreme Zionist position. Her proposal was a clear rejection of the Balfour Declaration. The Commission itself wanted one extended Syria plus Lebanon and Palestine under King Faisal and under mandate of the US. England would be second choice

The proposal was pushed aside. France and England did not like it, nor did they like the proposals of the Syrian National Congress. In October 1918, Faisal established an Arab government in Damascus with himself as king.

In March 1920, the Syrian National Congress rejected the mandate proposals and declared the independence of Syria and Palestine.

Emir Faisal’s delegation at Versailles, during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919[5]

But on 24th July of that same year, the French occupied Damascus and, with full support from the British, deposed king Faisal. Faisal left and went to Haifa where he was greeted by… the newly arrived High Commissioner for the Palestinian mandatory area Herbert Samuel who was very pro-Zionist and in a memorandum (1915) to the British cabinet had expressed the view that

“widespread and deep-rooted in the Protestant world is a sympathy with the idea of restoring the Hebrew people to the land which was to be their inheritance, an intense interest in the fulfilment of the prophesies which have foretold it”

(CAB 37/123).

The Disastrous Year / Am al-Nakba in 1920

The year 1920 will go into the Arab history as the Year of Disaster (Am al-Nakba). At that time England and France designed at random frontiers in the Middle-East in order to demarcate their mandated territories.

In a memorandum to the then Secretary of State of Colonies Winston Churchill, the third Palestinian Congress in December 1920 stated that the Balfour Declaration was a contract

“between England and a collection of history, imagination and ideals existing only in the brains of Zionists who are a company, a commission, but not a nation’ (= a mixture of tales, fantasy and ideals that existed only in the head of Zionists who constitute a Commission, but not a Nation)”.

This would sow the seeds of a conflict that has persisted until this very day. Within six months of the third Congress, attacks on Zionist settlements in Palestine began to take place.

In 1921, a committee chaired by the Lord Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Palestine Sir Thomas Haycraft, on which served representatives of Muslims, Jews and Christians, concluded in 1921 that the British and the Zionist Advisory Council of the government in Palestine in their mandate privileged the Jews above the Palestinians, that, proportionally, there were too many Jews in the government, that immigrants posed an economic threat and that they were an insult to the Arabs because of their arrogance and contemptuous attitude.

The League of Nations ratifies the Mandate for England

David Lloyd George ― British Prime Minister[6]

Based on the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations ratifies the Mandate for England on Palestine and for France the Mandate on Syria and Lebanon. This arrangement was already pre-cooked before the Paris peace conference of 1919, when Lloyd George (who himself wanted to have Palestine) made a commitment to French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau that France would be given the free hand in Syria and Lebanon.

Under English Mandate, the Jewish population in Palestine would grow through a continuously sustained Zionist policy of immigration. This despite the fact that the British Cabinet had stated in 1919 that the Balfour Declaration

“did not intend to allow Palestine to be submerged by Jewish immigrants or to remove actual landowners or grant favourable concessions to individuals or to allow that a majority be governed by a minority”

(CAB 24/145).

By ratification the Balfour Declaration would get international recognition.

Article 2 of the Mandate stated:

“the Mandatory shall be responsible for placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home”.

In Article 11, a Jewish Agency was granted authority to develop the country.
For the Palestinians, there was no such institution similar to the Jewish Agency.

Ben Gourion speaking on the day of Israel’s independence [7]

Chaim Weizmann proposed in personal conversations with the British (1929) to include Transjordan in the Land of Israel. Jabotinski supported that idea. There were also plans for the Zionists to transfer the Palestinian people and ‘Transfer’ Committees came into being in order to discuss how these plans could be implemented. This would be a reason for the British to make a proposal for a division of the country in the 1930s.

The aftermath of World War II

Palestinian resistance and exile

The British leaving Haifa in 1948[8]

After World War I, the Ottoman Empire is falling apart. The British are entrusted with the Mandate over Palestine. For 20 years, the Palestinians would oppose British authority and Jewish immigration, which was to increase massively after 1933 because of the emerging Nazism in Germany.

The Palestinians oppose the sale of their country to the Jewish immigrants. The English try in vain to counteract the selling of land through the Land Transfer Regulations.

The ‘Nakba’ of 1948

Palestinian families fleeing from Galilea (1948)[9]

After the Foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, the Palestinians experienced a loss of identity. They feel like a minority in their own country in the midst of a foreign people. The precursor of the Israeli army, the Haganah, announces that they would attack villages that had been assigned to the Palestinians. 480 Arab villages are blown up, set on fire and many inhabitants are killed. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are driven out of their homes. The Palestinians call this tragic event ‘Al-Nakba’ (= the catastrophe).

Arab nationalism. FATAH and PLO

In the 1950s, Arab Nationalism, led by Gamal Abd-el-Nasser, who nationalises the Suez Canal in 1956, is developing, reason why Britain ― through a tactical move by the Israeli army ― could invade Egypt and ‘secure’ the Suez Canal for its imperialist goals.

In 1959, Arab students who live as exiles in Kairo, Koweit and Beirouth founded the FATAH around the (now historic) person of Yasser Arafat. At that moment in time FATAH is in favour of armed resistance. In 1964, the PLO was created at an Arabian summit in Kairo. Yasser Arafat would lead the PLO in a powerful way. The resistance against Israel will take place outside Israel.

In 1968, the Palestinian Parliament in exile rejected the 1947 distribution plan. This plan proposed that the Jews who made up 1/3 of the population would get 56% of the territory.

The PLO wanted Palestine to remain an indivisible territory. To achieve this goal, FATAH tries to unleash a guerrilla in the occupied territories but does not receive support from local inhabitants in the West Bank.

After that, the Palestinians would lose 50% of their territory by confiscation of land for ‘security reasons’. In 1964, the Arab movement Al-Ard (= the Earth) wrote a letter to the UN Secretary-General demanding full equality of all citizens in Israel and Israel’s acceptance of the 1947 resolutions on the distribution of Palestine.

Palestinian ‘invisibility’

President Nixon, Henry Kissinger (USA) and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir meeting in the Oval Office 1973[10]

The Palestinian presence would be pushed into the background for decades, against better judgement, as it were.
Israel’s future prime minister, Golda Meir, said in 1969:

“it was not the case that there were Palestinians who would have manifested themselves as people and who we would have driven away after trying to have their country. They did not exist.”

Walid Khalidi, From Haven to Conquest, XXII

Ben Gourion, Israel’s first prime minister, would say about the same issue:

“… we had clear rights to the country. Not the right to take it away from others ― there was no one else ― but the right and duty to populate its abandoned, vast areas, to populate its barren plains, to recreate a modern form of our old homeland”.

Ben Gourion parle, Paris, Stock 1971, p.34.

Rather curious views in the light of Yithzak Epstein’s warnings in 1905!

War. Recognition of Israel by the Palestinians

Mandate for Palestine[11]

In 1967, Egypt, Jordan and Syria launched a joint attack on Israel. Israel wins the war through good planning and a sound information position. Nasser’s pan-Arab dream collapses and the Palestinians are left to themselves.

The Israeli-Arab conflict is now becoming the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The future looks bleak. In Jordan, the Palestinians are no longer welcome and they are expelled from Amman in 1970/71. A few thousand farmers are killed by Hussein’s troops. 300,000 people get adrift.
The Palestinians resort to terrorism: hostage taking, attacks, sabotage, suicide commandos.

In Lebanon camps were created, controlled by Lebanese security forces. Lebanon regarded the Palestinians as dangerous, rebellious foreigners. Lebanese citizens had no access to the camps. Thanks to the support of the Arab world, Arafat could get rid of the Lebanese Security Service. The Palestinians now took to the streets and caused ‘turmoil’ (= intifada). Unarmed. It was the PLO’s first political victory.

In 1974, the Palestinian movement recognized the State of Israel and expressed the wish to establish an independent Palestinian State in the area occupied by Israel in 1967. The Palestinians accept coexistence with Israel, but demand the return of the refugees of 1948.

In 1977, an annex to the Geneva Conference of 1949 stated that armed resistance could be offered in order to exercise the right to self-determination. The Palestinian resistance in the occupied territories was now protected by international law.

In 1982, Israel waged war in Lebanon. After the war, the PLO’s military apparatus was forced to go into exile in Tunisia. The Palestinians would be financially supported by the Gulf States, which would allow them to get reorganized.

There are currently 1.3 million Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. The population of Gaza (about two million inhabitants) consists of 95% Palestinian refugees. No wonder that movements like FATAH and HAMAS originated in Gaza, the soul of the resistance.

Plea for unarmed resistance

The psychologist Professor Mubarak Awad, an American Palestinian, advocates in his work for unarmed resistance against the Israelis. He settled in Israel (1983) but was deported by Yitzhak Shamir in 1988. According to Mubarak Awad, Israel’s war machine can be stopped by unarmed resistance. When using this strategy international public opinion could also be better informed about the ordeal of the Palestinians and would dissuade Israel of using violence in the name of so-called ‘security’.
In this way, Israel could be isolated morally and politically. Moreover, unarmed resistance affects the morale of the Israeli soldier. Mubarak argues that unarmed resistance is a positive and active strategy which requires a high degree of organization and discipline. Ways of unarmed resistance include protest demonstrations, obstruction, strikes, solidarity actions, civil disobedience etc.

The first Intifada. Two States Proposal. Birth of HAMAS

In 1987, the first, genuine Intifada takes place. Unfortunately, this is not covered by the international media. These are located in Tel Aviv and have old time relations with the Israeli establishment. They, moreover, depend on the Israeli army for their news gathering. To top it all, there are no Palestinian journalists working for the international media.

The first Intifada is an unarmed popular resistance in which women also participate, a resistance that goes hand in hand with an increasingly sharp awareness of a national Palestinian identity.

The PLO issues the order not to use weapons. This order is largely obeyed and the resistance is mainly limited to throwing stones at Israeli tanks and soldiers.
There are few casualties on the Israeli side. On the Palestinian side, 700 people were killed in 1989. In 1992, there were 1.100 Palestinian deaths and tens of thousands were wounded.

The year 1988 also witnessed the birth of HAMAS, a Palestinian organization that would carry out attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians and came to power in Gaza. In the same year, the PLO’s Governing Board takes on the name of ‘Palestinian Authority’ which would establish itself successively in Jericho, Gaza and Ramallah. The Palestinian National Council in Algiers would opt for the creation of two Palestinian territories. Arafat says in Algiers (1988) that he would accept a Palestinian State in part of Palestine: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.

In Israel itself, the opinion among the population begins to shift. Until then, it was denied that the Palestinians formed a people and a nation and Palestinians were seen as terrorists. In Israel, we see the birth of movements such as Shalom Archav (= Peace Now) and Yesh Gvul (= There is a limit). Around the ancient town of Jerusalem, a chain of 30,000 Palestinians and Israelis is formed under the slogan ‘Time for Peace’.

Peace negotiations

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. president Bill Clinton, and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat (1993)[12]

Attempts are being made to bring about peace. There will be a Conference in Madrid (with the participation of the PLO) and secret negotiations are held in Oslo (1993). It was agreed that a Security Cooperation would seek to ban both armed and unarmed resistance. Israel, unfortunately, continued to build new settlements in the West Bank, whereas the Palestinian Authority, as agreed in Oslo, stifled the Palestinian resistance.

The negotiations in Oslo are concluded by the signing of an Agreement (Oslo I) in the White House (1993) in the presence of the American President Clinton, the prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The document (Declaration of Principles) was signed by the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Shimon Peres, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Kozyrev, the American Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Mahmoud Abbas for the PLO.

Towards the second Intifada

Despite the generally expressed wish for peace, a new period of bitter struggle was imminent. Shimon Peres and Ariël Sharon are convinced that HAMAS was focused on the destruction of Israel.

In the year 2000, on September 28th, Israel’s future prime minister, Ariel Sharon, takes a provocative ‘walk’ on the square in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, accompanied by 1.000 soldiers and agents. This would lead to the beginning of the second Intifada and to countless acts of hostility on both sides. The second ― this time armed ― Intifada is aimed towards gaining independence. The new leadership of the Intifada also includes HAMAS and the Islamic Jihad groups. Religion will therefore also play a role.

Media

Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The second Intifada is closely monitored by the media. There is a Palestinian Press, radio and TV. The daily fusillades of Palestinians are also broadcasted. Arab satellite stations provide nonstop broadcasts of events. But the violence of the second Intifada has, however, undermined the credibility of the Palestinians. HAMAS’ suicide bombings had no effect and there was no support from the masses. The negative balance included an Israeli reoccupation and would lead to the failure of the Oslo Agreements.

With the murder of a man with a great sense of responsibility, the Israeli Prime Minister Yithzak Rabin in 1995, ‘Oslo’ came to an end. A harrowing side effect was that the murder was committed by an Orthodox Jew. Herzl’s admonishment to keep religion out of politics had proved to be ever so true.

Twenty-first century

The Wall. Gaza left by Sharon in the hands of Hamas.

In 2002, Israel began building a Wall in the occupied West Bank. The wall would be 168 km long and would be constructed in such a way that only the Israeli settlers would benefit from it. Palestinian land was also seized for the expansion of Jewish settlements.

Some Palestinian districts were cut off by the Wall from Jerusalem. For Palestinians on the East side of the Wall, it would become very difficult to move to the West side. There would be strictly guarded entrance gates and people had to wait for hours before they could pass the Israeli checkpoints.

The economic lives of the Palestinians are being disrupted. The International Criminal Court declared the construction of the Wall illegal in 2004. The Israeli Government could not care less. Nevertheless organisations in Israel opposed the construction of the Wall and participated in the (popular) demonstrations against the Wall (Gush Shalom, Yesh Gvul, Rabbis for Human Rights etc).

Activists from France, Britain and Italy showed interest. People wanted to bear witness to the reality of Palestinian life under the occupation and expose situations that were systematically ignored by the Israeli media.

Historian Avi Shlaim calls Israel a rogue State

In 2005, Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulled out of Gaza, dismantled 21 Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip, but refused to hand the territory over to the Palestinian Authority, thereby causing chaos and leaving full control of the area to HAMAS (2007). The Jewish settlers were relocated and received a financial compensation. Israel maintained external control of Gaza.

Jerusalem Barrier, June 2007[13]

After the disengagement of Gaza, Israel will undertake three major military operations in Gaza.

Amira Hass, journalist of Haaretz, was on the war scene in 2009 and reports that high-rise flats where people were hiding on the ground floor are being bombed. Factories and farmland are destroyed. Thousands of Palestinians will die between 2008 and 2014.

The Israeli historian Avi Shlaim calls Israel a rogue state (The Guardian of 7 January 2009). Reasons for his opinion: Israel is in possession of weapons of mass destruction, it uses violence against civilians for political purposes and has no respect for international law that rejects the construction of the Wall and the establishment of Jewish colonies in the occupied territories. East Jerusalem had already been annexed (1967/1980), an act that was internationally condemned.

In 2011, Marwan Barghouti, a director of FATAH, who had been imprisoned for 10 years, sent a message to the Palestinians to give up any form of cooperation with Israel. In Hebron, Issa Amro founded the NGO ‘Youth against settlements’ (see also Chloé Dumoulin’s interview with Issa Amro on 23 December 2016 in Mediapart: ‘Israel sombre dans la folie’).
8,000 rockets were fired from Gaza in 2014, costing the life of 3 Israeli civilians. About a thousand Palestinian prisoners start a hunger strike and Barghouti calls for civil disobedience.

Palestinian authorities lose their influence

Left-wing Israeli protesters hold signs condemning an attack by settlers that killed an 18-month Palestinian baby (2015)[14]

Palestinian villages that suffered adverse consequences because of the Wall put up unarmed resistance. The resistance was directed against Israeli colonization (the Jewish settlements), the Wall and also against Palestinian rulers in the West Bank.

It’s a matter of fact, the Palestinian authorities on the West Bank and Gaza did not show solidarity and the administration was characterized by dictatorial behaviour and corruption. A positive change is that HAMAS reviewed its Charter and no longer insisted on the destruction of Israel as in 1988. However, HAMAS continues to strive for the liberation of the occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

The younger Palestinians have lost respect for their official leaders and are themselves beginning to take control of the events. They have come to the conclusion that both the Palestinian Authority and HAMAS have done little or nothing for the Palestinians and were busy pursuing their own political and financial ambitions.

America recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

In 2017, The American President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. A dangerous and reckless move. Everyone knows that a Palestinian State without Jerusalem is unthinkable. A so-called ‘cosmopolite’ Jerusalem surrounded by Jewish settlements is a fallacy. To top it all, the Jewish settlements will also be connected to the city by a tram.

Trump’s so-called ‘Peace Plan’ as ‘Deal of the Century’, carried out by Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, all of Jewish descent, is not aimed at self-determination for the Palestinians and only in the political interest of Israel and the business interest of America.
No Palestinian will accept this. Many people have been consulted for this plan (including the Saudis, the Bahrainis, the Emirates, the Egyptians, the Jordanians), except…. the Palestinians. This fact had made it clear to the Palestinians that the Arab States have conformed to Israel. They feel abandoned by their Arab ‘brothers’. After all, what to think of Arab States that gladly agree to the fact that Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of Israel?

Undoubtedly, Israel hopes that the Palestinians will feel themselves cornered to such a degree that they will leave Jerusalem of their own will. There is no further support to be expected from Europe either. Europe is divided and powerless because of the differences between Western and Eastern Europe. The time (1980) that Europeans in Venice ratified the right to self-determination for the Palestinians is over.

The ‘March of Return’

Palestinians have opted for unarmed resistance for strategic reasons. In Gaza, people have organized the ‘Great March of Return’.[15]

The ‘Great March of return’ in Gaza at the Israeli border demands the abolition of the blockade, free movement of persons and the right to return for Palestinian refugees.

The editor-in-chief of Haaretz newspaper, Bradley Burston, who served in the Israeli army, writes on March 21, 2018:

“Israel is terribly afraid of the new weapon of the Palestinians”.

This new weapon consists of non-armed resistance organized in a family context and avoiding as much as possible confrontations with Israeli troops. Women and children are also actively participating in this effort. Israeli soldiers, morally speaking, can do little against unarmed protests at the risk of public opinion turning against them. Nevertheless, the Israeli army has killed a number of protesters and wounded hundreds of them. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch speak of war crimes.

In the village of Nabi Saleh, people have been demonstrating for years against the seizure of olive groves. This seizure takes place in the name of the Israeli ‘Law of the Three Years’ which justifies colonization of land that has not been cultivated for three years[16].

Armed opposition to Israel is no longer an option and is doomed to fail. Israel is a nuclear power and enjoys, apparently, international impunity. The country is speeding up the colonisation of the West Bank, apparently with the intention of annexing this area.

Hagai el-Ad, director of B’Tselem (the Israeli Information Centre for human rights in the occupied territories) stated in 2018:

“There is no longer any tolerance whatsoever for the Palestinian resistance today. It’s almost a joke: when a Palestinian films a demonstration, it’s called ‘media terrorism’; if a boycott is called for, it is called ‘economic terrorism’; if one might want to go to an international court, it is called ‘legal terrorism’. These names are applied to anybody who does not wake up in the morning thanking Israel for the occupation.”

For more than 70 years, the entire Palestinian civilian population has been suffering from the Israeli occupation: the Wall, colonization and military checkpoints in the West Bank, the blockades, the closure of passageways, the racist laws and the absence of perspective.

Finally

Haïfa

Let us end this article with the words that Leila Shahid, former Ambassador of Palestine to the European Union, said in 2016:

“… the Project of two States existing side by side in Israel and Palestine is the best antidote to the rise of racism, fear of the Other and rejection of the Other”.

It remains to be seen whether there will still be enough (physical) place for a Palestinian State in the future.

Noten

[1] Source: David Ben Gourion
[2] Source: Balfour declaration unmarked
[3] Source: Walter Rothschild
[4] Source: Weizmann and Feisal 1918
[5] Source: Emir Faisal’s delegation at Versailles, during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Left to right: Rustum Haidar, Nuri as-Said, Prince Faisal, Captain Pisani (behind Faisal), T. E. Lawrence, unknown member of his delegation, Captain Tahsin Kadry.
[6] Source: David Lloyd George ― British politician and Prime Minister (1863–1945)
[7] Source: David Ben Gurion reading the Declaration of Independence
[8] Source: The British leaving Haifa in 1948
[9] Source: Palestinian refugees
[10] Source: President Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir meeting in the Oval Office 1973
[11] Source: Mandaat voor Palestina
[12] Source: Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, and Yasser Arafat
[13] Source: Jerusalem-barrier June 2007
[14] Source: Left-wing Israeli protesters hold signs during a protest in Tel Aviv condemning an attack by settlers that killed an 18-month Palestinian baby in 2015 in the occupied West Bank
[15] See facebook.com/2111799399090205/ and the reaction of the President of Israel Mr. Netanyahu and Michelle Bachelet in 2019 facebook.com/ 800629346970464/. Also facebook.com/1249900855164932/
[16] See for images youtu.be/LerFuCLyv20 and binged.it/2L8WxOn

studeerde cum laude af in de Franse, Spaanse en Portugese taal- en letterkunde. Vanaf het begin combineerde hij zijn functies met werkzaamheden als literair vertaler. Fred de Haas vertaalde onder meer uit het Papiaments, het Frans, het Spaans en het Russisch. Hij is leider, zanger en gitarist bij het Latijns-Amerikaans ensemble Alma Latina.

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