an Issue of World Negligence
by Peter Stern
Perhaps the real question is whether Israel had ownership rights to the Palestine land it currently occupies. Zionism had been created as a nationalistic organization and/or political movement that aggressively proposed a home state for all Jewish people and it focused on the Middle East lands of Palestine. Zionists persuaded various Western nations to support its efforts towards that end.
One of the chief supporters of the Zionist objective was Great Britain and perhaps the most documented acknowledgement of that effort is the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which basically supported and approved the right of Zionists to inhabit Palestine and create a statehood for all Jewish people. In 1948 the State of Israel was etched-out in Palestine.
However, did the Zionists have a legal claim to the land in Palestine? Furthermore, did Great Britain at the time have a legal right to approve Zionist claims to Palestine? These two questions are contested every day as the battle for Palestine occupation continues.
Perhaps no other event in history prompted the consideration of a Jewish statehood than Adolf Hitler’s rise to power and his plans to exterminate races and cultures other than German that caused the emigration of Jews and other peoples to alternate countries. Many nations, e.g., the U.S., Great Britain, Canada, etc., offered to accept Jews to come live and work in their respective countries; however, the Zionists were determined to claim Palestine as the new home for all Jewish people because this was the area where Jews had lived centuries earlier and the political movement wanted to house all Jews “under one roof.” The Zionist movement did NOT want Jewish people scattered throughout the world, rather, it pushed for the Palestine region rather than accept the offers provided by various nations.
Thus began the exodus of Jews from around the world to Palestine. Great Britain’s Balfour Declaration had no real legal substance because most of Palestine had been settled and owned by Palestinians for 1200 years. While the Jews did attempt to purchase land in Palestine and were partially successful, the Zionists believed that whatever land could not be purchased would be taken by military force. In this “declaration” of the settlement imperative and with the support of many Western nations 500,000 Palestinians were forced from their land and homes so that Jews could establish their settlements in Palestine.
In addition, the new State of Israel did not permit the indigenous Palestinians to live and maintain their civil rights within Israeli borders. In fact, Zionist Israel continues to push Palestinians further towards the borders of neighboring countries in the hopes to eliminate Palestinians completely from the region.
Consequently, the fighting for Jewish settlements and the desire to contain and/or eliminate Palestinians continues. Many historians point out the similarity of the Jewish settlement and takeover of Palestine to that of the settling of the United States. Certainly there is a case for the comparison when we consider our own western expansion at the expense of the Native Americans who had lived here centuries earlier before the white expansion forced them from their lands.
In truth, the Balfour Declaration had no legal ground to stand on and the Zionists had no legal right to claim all Palestine lands for their settlement and for founding the State of Israel on Palestinian owned property. Furthermore, the Zionists claimed the homes and properties of the Palestinians they scared away, but the rules and laws of the Geneva Convention, which Israel signed in agreement, states that those forced physically from their property still maintain a legal claim to the property.
The battle continues today as Israel pushes Palestinians towards the borders of neighboring countries and Zionists continue to subdivide Palestinians into smaller group settlements, restricting their movement and ability to live and work as free citizens. Israel refuses to allow Palestinians to live in harmony with Jews, which is the primary cause of the ongoing hostility and violence in the Middle East. Palestinians have the right to live and prosper in Palestine, but they cannot do so because of Israel’s ongoing drive to create more Jewish settlements and to force Palestinians from the region. Israel aggressively boycotts goods and services being sent to Palestinians in the Gaza region. World nations have not held Israel accountable for its aggressive and illegal actions against the Palestinian people and Palestine remains in constant turmoil because of World negligence.