Burning Inferno of Gaza
By Asif Haroon Raja
Background History of Creation of Israel
The Christan Zionists had emerged in 1890 and grew in London. In 1905, Arthur James Balfour promulgated the 1905 Aliens Act to stop the immigration to Britain of the Jewish refugees fleeing anti-Semitism in Russia. Theodor Herzl was the founder of Zionist movement. He floated the idea of a Jewish state for the wandering Jews in Europe suffering at the hands of Christian anti-Semites. The latter wanted to get rid of the Jews. The project of sending all Jews to Palestine was jointly pursued by the Zionist movement and the British anti-Semites.
The Balfour Declaration of Nov 6, 1917 was inked at the behest of Zionist Rothchild with a view to provide a homeland for the Jews. After the 2nd world war, Palestine became the colony of Britain, which considered it a fit place for a Jewish State.
Palestine, where the great majority was of the Arab Muslims extended from River Jordan in the East to the Mediterranean in the West, and from Ras Al Naqarush in the North to Umm Al-Rashrash in the South. It was a prosperous state where all the communities lived in harmony without any discrimination.
At the start of the 20th century, the Jewish population in Palestine was less than 5%. After 1920, it swelled to over 30% due to manipulated immigration from Europe. From 1945 onwards the intensity of immigration of Jews to Palestine intensified and the UK helped the Jews to buy lands and properties and to settle down.
In 1947-48, the militant gangs of the Zionist Jews resorted to terrorism and systematically demolished 531 Palestinian villages. In 1947, the UK proposed division of Palestine, which was executed by the UN to carve out a state for the Jews in May 1948. Almost half of Palestine was awarded to Israel. Before the 1948 Arab-Israeli war in May 1948, 200 villages were destroyed.
It gave birth to the Arab-Israeli conflict and led to the 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 wars. The combined armies of Egypt, Syria and Iraq supported by other Arab countries were roundly defeated by the IDF in all the wars.
Displacement of Palestinians
In 1948, two forcible displacements of 250,000 and 350,000 Palestinians took place They were expelled from their homes. In May 1948, another 750,000 were displaced/expelled and forced to live as refugees in several Arab States, West Bank (WB), and Gaza Strip which is just 365 Sq area, 41 KM long and 6 KM wide. It now has about 2.5 million people.
During the 2nd Intifada, about 5000 homes were demolished and 50,000 Palestinians were displaced. From 2009 to 2023, 9000 homes were destroyed and 1,50,000 Palestinians killed/injured.
In the current war in Gaza, 1.4 million Gazans have been displaced.
Settlement of Jews
During the Partition plan, the Jews owned 7% of the land in Palestine and its population was 55%. In 1947, the Jewish possessions in Palestine were 9-12% of cultivable land, which increased to 81% in 1977.
From 1967 to May 1977, Israel established 133 settlements in occupied territories of WB, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Since 1979, settlers in WB have risen from 3200 to 17,400. In East Jerusalem, the number of settlers has risen to 80,000.
From 1949 to 1967, Israel gobbled up 78% of Palestinian lands, and thereafter continued to nibble more territory, reducing the territory held by the Palestinians to only 8%.
The Western world and the UN legitimized Israel’s robbery of land and wanton barbarities against the victims under the plea of right to self-defense.
PLO was created in 1964 by Yasser Arafat, which started an armed resistance movement in the late 1960s after Israel launched its policy of settling Jews in Palestinian lands.
The Madrid Conference in 1991 jointly chaired by George Bush senior and Gorbachev was the first attempt to bring the Arabs and Israelis on a negotiating table.
Oslo Accords was signed by Israel under Yitzhak Rabin and PLO in 1993. Yasser Arafat agreed to recognize Israel in return for peace and a two-state solution. He earned the animosity of hawkish members in PLO, he fell ill and died in Paris hospital. Many speculated that he was slow-poisoned to death.
In pursuance of the peace agreement, Israel withdrew from Gaza Strip and agreed to hand over 97% of WB territory. It agreed to recognize Palestine as an independent State comprising Gaza, WB and East Jerusalem as its capital, for which the PLA was created.
Camp David summit hosted by Bill Clinton for the final settlement in 2000 proved inconclusive, because of disagreements on territory, refugees and the status of Jerusalem.
The next phase of resistance put up by the PLO was in the form of unarmed Intifada in 2001, in which children threw stones on the occupying Israeli forces. Their sole demand was to return their occupied lands and grant them the right to exist independently.
Road map for peace formulated in 2003 met a similar fate due to Israel’s obduracy and boycott by Hamas. Same happened with the Annapolis Conference hosted by George Bush junior in 2007.
Another effort was made by John Kerry to revive peace talks in 2013-14, but Hamas rejected the talks for being tilted in favor of Israel.
Trump played a role in brokering Abraham Accords in 2020 which led to the normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab States. Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital and the USA hastened to shift its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Not only did Israel violate the peace deal, it launched a vigorous forward settlement program to further encroach into the Palestinian territory and to change the demography of Gaza, WB and East Jerusalem that were illegally annexed in 1967.
Number of illegal settlers rose from 200,000 in 2008 to over 700,000 in 2023. It laid to rest the two-state solution.
Rise of Hamas
Mehmood Abbas who succeeded Arafat after the death of Arafat as the head of PLA, made compromises with Israel, which defanged the resistance movement and made him unpopular. His unpopularity gave space to a new political party ‘Hamas’ under Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza.
Hamas was elected with a big majority in 2006 elections in which the non-performing PLA under Abbas was defeated. The latter, egged on by Israel, refused to accept the results and formed its own government in the WB in 2007.
Hamas govt was democratically elected, but it was not accepted by Tel Aviv and its chief patron USA, and was declared a terrorist group. Israel and the USA played a role in creating misgivings and pitting the PLA against Hamas to weaken the Palestine cause.
Hamas bettered the lives of the Gazans through good governance and honesty and won their hearts which was not to the liking of Israel. The IDF carried out ruthless ground and air offensives against Gaza from 2008 to 2020, killing and injuring 120,286 innocent people and destroying their infrastructure and livelihoods. Deaths and injuries of Israelis were 5887. Al-Aqsa Mosque was repeatedly desecrated even when the Palestinians were praying.
This was done in a bid to topple Hamas Govt, or to compel the Gazans to detach themselves from Hamas, but they didn’t, and have braved the barbarism of Israel. Despite friendship with Abbas, Israel kept encroaching into WB and killing the Palestinians and established over one hundred new settlements.
Israel’s aggressive policies forced Hamas to create a militant wing for the defence of Gaza.
Role of the USA
The US has been protecting and safeguarding the interests of Israel since its creation in 1948. It helped Israel to become a nuclear power and the strongest power in the ME, and its airspace, border and coastline was made impregnable. The militarily and economically strong Arab States were neutralized and tamed. The US and Europe justified Israel’s sins against humanity by arguing that it is a victim of aggression and has the right of self-defense. Ignoring the extreme pains of the Palestinians and their legitimate resistance movement, who were deprived of their lands and homes, they are accused of unprovoked cruel aggression against Jews.
Heavy military assistance to Israel by the USA is considered rightful, but humanitarian assistance to the Gazans is seen by the duplicitous West as illegal.
The certificate of terrorism given to the Palestinians by the US led West and unwavering support of the US encouraged Israel to constantly delegitimize, brutalize and dehumanize them, deprive them of their right of self-defense, or to seek basic human rights.
A stage came in 2020 during Donad Trump era, that the Arab States abandoned the cause of the Palestinians as well as the two-state solution and decided to recognize Israel. They took the plea that friendship with Israel would help in resolving the Palestinian dispute.
After several Arab States opened diplomatic and trade relations with Israel, the change of scenario emboldened an arrogant Netanyahu to boast that in near future there will be no Palestine on the map of the world.
Pressure was mounted on Pakistan to recognize Israel. The main argument of pro-Israel lobbies was that when the directly involved Arab nations had changed their policies, there was no earthly reason for Pakistan not to recognize Israel with which it doesn’t share border and there is no dispute between the two. They further argued that it was hypocritical to maintain friendly relations with the USA and hostility with Israel.
Ambitions of the Imperialist Powers
The Muslim leaders must understand the future ambitions of the three imperialist strategic partners – USA, ISRAEL and INDIA.
The US wants to control the global resources and monopolize the world after neo-colonizing the Middle East.
Israel’s quest is to create Greater Israel, which stretches from River Nile to Euphrates and includes parts of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.
India strives for Mahabharata, which envisages the whole of South Asia, Afghanistan, parts of Central Asia, Iran and Indonesia, and stretches up to the Gulf region.
Both Israel and India backed by the USA are pursuing uniform policies of genocide, rapes, destruction and change of demographic complexion of the occupied territories.
Both have broken all records of tyranny, cruelty and human rights, but being the darlings of the West, all their sins are ignored. Instead of restraining them or punishing them, they are encouraged and further strengthened by their patrons.
To be continued
The writer is a retd Brig , war veteran, defence, security and political analyst, international columnist, author of five books, MSc War Studies, served as Directing Staff in Staff College Quetta, defence attaché Egypt and Sudan and Dean of the Corps of military attaches, held high staff and command appointments, after retirement he was appointed Colonel of the Battalion he commanded, he chaired Thinkers Forum Pakistan for 4 years, takes part in TV talk shows