2002 is the 54th year of the creation of the State of Israel on Palestinian territory. Much to the despair of Arabs and Muslims worldwide, the West continues to blatantly ignore the fundamental truth about the creation of a Jewish state in the heart of the Arab world.

    While the Israelis hail Israel’s creation as the fulfillment of a biblical promise to the Jewish people, Westerners, particularly Americans, associate it with memories of the Nazi massacres of Jews in Europe, and thus attach in their memories a degree of justice, atonement, and fair play for the events of the past. Israeli propagandists have exploited this ill-defined sense of guilt in the West so successfully, that the Zionist version of the creation of Israel and Jewish history is accepted as fact, at the expense of the truth.

    To Arabs and Muslims the year 1948 has an entirely different meaning. It is called “A’am Al-Nakba” or the “Year of the Disaster.” In the memory of the Palestinians, it is the year of the dismantling of Palestine and the uprooting of the Palestinian people from the lands and homes that they had legally owned for millennia. To them it seemed that they alone have had to pay for the sins of others in Europe.

    It is the establishment of what is essentially a foreign culture and an oppressive ideology, Zionism, into the heart of the Arab /Muslim world that has brought inevitable strife, as one side struggles to free itself from occupation and the other uses violence and repression to maintain its presence in a foreign land.

    Unfortunately, people in the West are unfamiliar with the true facts about what has happened and is continuing to happen in Palestine. American and European Jews, subject them to a barrage of propaganda from Zionist oriented media that is often owned, or written by American or Israeli sympathizers. As the Zionists become more aggressive, their propaganda becomes even more strident and hate filled.

    It seems to all Arabs and Muslims that Western governments, particularly the American government, are keen to support Israel’s views of contemporary history and its interpretation of events in the occupied territories. Western governments seem to wear blinkers and have selective memories, even when faced with incontrovertible evidence about the truth of Palestinian claims against Israel and its actions in the Occupied territories; they continue to support Israel, much to the despair of all Arabs and fair-minded people around the world.

    What makes this situation intolerable, is, that even the founder of the state of Israel, David Ben Gurion, recognised the underlying truth of what had been done in Palestine by the Zionists, in encouraging Jewish settlement in Palestine. During an internal discussion with other leaders of the Zionist movement on the Arab nationalist revolt of 1936 /39, he said, “We minimise Arab opposition to us to the rest of the world. Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves. The truth is, that politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves. The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down and in their view, we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside.” His comments neatly sum up the underlying problems of Palestine today. Until America and the West recognise the validity of Palestinian claims to the land and are prepared to take measures to enforce its recognition, they will never be able to bring peace to Palestine.

    By exploiting American and European guilt for what was done to Jews in Europe before and during World War Two, the Jewish lobby in America has had overwhelming success in eliciting sympathetic media coverage of events in Palestine, and this helps them to blur the facts and skew them in Israel’s favour. This has led to an easy acceptance by the West of Palestinian deaths and the curtailment of their basic human rights. By submitting to American pressure and doing nothing to deny the facts, even when it is all too obvious that Israel is in the wrong, Western governments and the Western Media find themselves unwilling to stand up to Israel, and condemn their ruthlessness and inhumanity towards the people of Palestine. None have even tried to enforce the UN resolutions mandating the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the return of all the occupied West Bank, and the return of land stolen from the Arab population since 1948.

    As we move further into 2002, the outlook for peace and a just settlement in Palestine looks bleak. Israel, under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, has no intention of making peace; it is firmly set on a programme of subjection and containment in the Occupied territories, and America, under the Bush administration, is signaling support for Sharon. Prejudice against the Palestinians abounds in America, particularly in the media, and this growing prejudice is likely to tempt Israel to find a ‘Final Solution’ of its own, for the Arabs of Palestine.

    For many decades now, there has been no sign of a fair resolution of the Palestinian conflict. It is at this low point in Palestinian history that all who know and understand the truth behind- this conflict should step up to the plate and bat for peace and justice. They must go out and change opinions by bringing the truth about Palestine to the attention of as many people as possible. Once this is successfully achieved, no leader of America or any other Western country could afford to go against popular public opinion, for the struggle of a people to save their homeland. Ordinary citizens of Western democratic countries are like ordinary people the world over- kind and caring. They share the same sense of justice and fair-mindedness that enables them to see the truth and make moral judgements based on fact.  If they were honestly informed, they would see the justice of the Arab cause in the struggle for Palestine.

    So let this be a call to arms to all those western intellectuals, journalists, historians, politicians, pundits and other sympathisers, to don their armour and fight to establish the truth and show the reality of the Arabs struggle for self-determination in Palestine, by vociferously refuting at every opportunity the distorted propaganda put out by Israel and its sympathisers. For the Western ‘Friends of Palestine’ this will not be a comfortable task. They will be attacked and vilified, labelled anti-Semitic and branded supporters of terrorism. As has happened in the past, to others who have dared to speak out on behalf of the Palestinians, their livelihoods will be threatened and they and their families’ lives held to ransom.

    Despite all these hardships, it is only by speaking out loudly and regularly, that any real change can be made in the West’s perception of the Arabs and Palestine. Let the year 2002 be the start of a great movement, when all the sympathisers and supporters of Palestine in the West become more actively engaged in the search for a just resolution to the conflict and bring about tangible change, by placing themselves on the front line for truth and justice- just as Palestinian men, women, and children have been doing for the last 54 years, at horrific cost just to maintain a foothold in their own land.


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